Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Energy & Mining | Indonesia’s Gas Industry; Prioritising Domestic Demand and New

Indonesia’s natural gas industry holds significant potential for further international exports as well as for the domestic market. While crude oil output has been in decline over the past decade, natural gas production has been increasing annually exceeding crude oil output in 2002 and reaching 8,460 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in 2011 from 11 gas blocks, a 19% increase from 2001 (BPMIGAS). Indonesia has the largest proven gas reserves in the Asia Pacific region and the eleventh largest reserves in the world at 109 trillion cubic feet (BP Statistical Review of World Energy). This boom in natural gas production is aligned with a global shift towards diversification of energy resources and the increased use of natural gas in place of crude oil and refined products. The same trend is being witnessed in Indonesia with a renewed focus by the government to limit gas exports in an effort to ensure domestic supply while encouraging the use of gas as a fuel source for industrial and personal consumption. This paradigm shift is in turn creating opportunities for the private sector in gas distribution for gas powered vehicles as well as private pipeline networks.

Indonesia's Natural Gas Industry for Domestic Energy
The government has undertaken large scale projects to encourage the use of natural gas as a source of fuel at home by improving distribution channels.

Indonesia’s gas production and exploration industry is led by international energy giants such as Total E&P Indonesia which accounted for 32% of total production in 2010, Conoco Philips with 15%, state owned Pertamina with 14%, BP Tangguh with 13% and Exxon Mobil Oil Indonesia at 8% (See Overview of the Oil & Gas sector in Indonesia). The majority of natural gas output (60%) is today being derived from offshore fields in East Kalimantan, South Sumatra, North Sumatra and the South Natuna Sea. Many of the country’s mature gas fields such as Arun and Bontang which is the site of the country’s largest LNG facility are seeing a tapering off in production. New onshore and offshore gas sources are due to come online to ensure the continuous supply of gas to the domestic market. BPMIGAS approved 10 gas projects with a combined output of 1.75 billion standard cubic feet per day (scfd) for 2011-2014. These projects are primarily for the production of gas requiring $4.73 billion USD in investment. Deep-water gas reserves are a further area of potential, the first venture in this area has been undertaken by a consortium led by Chevron off East Kalimantan which aims to produce 1.1 billion scfd of gas and 31,000 bpd of condensate. Inpex of Japan is also developing the Masela project in the Arafuru Sea which holds an estimated 14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Based on these new projects, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources projects natural gas production to be 5,118 mmscfd over the 2012-2020 period from 17 new and currently operating gas fields.

Indonesia’s GDP growth at 6.4% in 2011, a figure that is expected to be repeated again in 2012 and largely driven by personal consumption is giving rise to increased domestic energy demand such as for electricity and gas in the home. For gas in particular, such as CNG gas canisters for personal use, consumption has expanded by 22% since 2001 and demand is expected to grow by 5.7% annually (Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT)). Domestic demands are bringing future international gas exports into question which accounted for 42% of total gas production in 2011, mainly in the form of LNG to Japan, China, South Korea and USA. The dampened demand as a result of the global economic slowdown enabled Indonesia to reduce its gas exports to 1.1 billion scfd and 1.2 billion scfd to Japan and USA respectively. Yet, revenues from gas exports still rose by 38% in 2011 to $12.96 billion USD making it still a valuable contribution to the nation’s income considering that export gas prices are 60% higher than domestic prices (BPMIGAS). Prioritising domestic gas needs has become a highly charged political issue with claims from the Golkar Party that Indonesia’s power plants and industries lack gas resources at the expense of international exports. As per July 2012 the Indonesian government announced that it is mulling the idea of a moratorium on future gas export contracts arguing that safeguarding gas for the domestic market will have a multiplier effect on the economy despite the loss in revenues on the short term.

One of the main challenges facing the domestic gas industry is how to distribute the gas as well as access to pipelines which are lacking in the country’s smaller, outlying islands. The government has undertaken large scale projects to encourage the use of natural gas as a source of fuel at home by improving distribution channels across the archipelago. These include the construction of the Trans Java pipe project, which is a series of pipelines extending across the island of Java totalling 682 kilometres in length at an estimated cost of $1.12 billion which will require a significant portion of the country’s gas production. The private sector has been able to enter the natural gas transportation and pipeline industry since 2002 under the Indonesian Oil and Gas Law No.22 of 2001. Private sector companies may operate pipeline, CNG transport and storage facilities under the regulatory authority of BPH Migas whereby they can set the tariffs for pipeline use and for household or small scale consumption. Since the introduction of the regulations, several leading private pipeline companies have emerged and now play a key role in ensuring a reliable gas supply to energy intensive industries such as carbonated drinks, ceramics and glass companies in Indonesia’s main industrial areas concentrated in West Java. It is expected that the Trans Java pipeline will create further opportunities for private pipeline operators to construct feeder pipelines to develop direct supply lines to industrial and residential areas. Such pipelines are also in demand for the development of new industrial areas outside of Java in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi in the short to medium term opening up highly lucrative investment opportunities.

Natural gas for use in vehicles (NGV) is another exciting area of Indonesia’s domestic gas industry. A campaign to promote the use of NGV as a substitute for gasoline in vehicles was initiated by the government in 1987 but it is the private sector players that have been active in promoting and distributing the technology to end consumers since the deregulation of the industry. The Indonesian Association of CNG Companies (APCNGI) now counts 44 members that have collectively constructed 4 fuel stations in Jakarta and 12 in Surabaya. As part of the government’s large scale investment projects in natural gas distribution, it plans on constructing a further 110 fuel stations over the medium term which will greatly contribute to establishing access for car owners as well as the issuing of 250,000 conversion kits. In addition to the infrastructure, changing attitudes towards using gas as a fuel source for vehicles has been a challenge and APCCNGI has requested incentives from the government to encourage the practice such as revoking car ownership tax for those that use CNG capable vehicle models. While the number of vehicles using the CNG conversion technology in Indonesia is still less than 1,000 and limited to obliged public transport operators (Jakarta Regulation No. 141 of 2007) and small scale transport companies, it is hoped that the government’s reaffirmed commitment to gas powered vehicles in response to the abolition of state subsidised fuel will have an impact on moving the industry forward on a larger scale. For investors in the sector (See New Tax Incentives for Investors in Indonesia), the scope for expansion is clearly apparent when the current size of the industry is compared to other countries such as Pakistan which had 2.4 million gas powered vehicles in 2009 and 3,000 fuel stations illustrating the scale of the opportunity in Indonesia.

In addition to private pipelines and NGV technology, Indonesia’s shift towards natural gas for its domestic energy needs will create opportunities in improving distribution to outlying islands whereby gas pipelines are not a commercially viable option. Small scale LNG plants and receiving terminals are one such area that holds potential, however the technology is still relatively new even on a global scale. Conversion technology for marine vessels which is already in use in more developed markets also has a lot of potential in an archipelago such as Indonesia. Small scale power plants are a further area that requires investment to ensure that smaller islands are able to reap the benefits of Indonesia’s abundant energy reserves as they seek to develop their regional economies. However, the government is keen to welcome technologies that facilitate development of the country outside of Indonesia’s main islands and incentives for investors are available through corporate tax holidays for up to 10 years for those that qualify as ‘pioneer industries’ until 2014. Investors should also note that projects of this type involve close coordination with central as well as regional government bodies and working with a local partner is not only an obligation for some project types (foreign investors are permitted up to 100% ownership in downstream gas activities as per the Negative Investment List 2010) but of the highest importance due to the involvement of state regulators to secure gas supply.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2013

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