PT Pertamina, Indonesia's state-run energy company, is targeting assets belonging to the New York-based Hess Corporation in Indonesia and Thailand to help boost its output. Pertamina director for investment planning and risk management Afdal Bahaudin said on Wednesday that the assets the company was targeting included a 75-per-cent participating interest and operatorship in the Ujung Pangkah block in Gresik, East Java. Hess plans to sell its assets by open tender and it may include a plan to sell its Thailand assets. "Pertamina is currently reviewing whether to purchase them," Bahaudin said. Last month, PT Saka Energi Indonesia, the upstream arm of state-owned gas distributor PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), acquired Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company's 25 per cent participating interest at the block for US$265 million (Bt8.2 billion). Located 50 kilometres from East Java's industrial centre in Surabaya, the Ujung Pangkah block currently produces 40 million metres standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of natural gas and 7,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and condensate. In March this year, Hess announced it would divest its exploration and production assets in Indonesia and Thailand as well as selling its downstream businesses, including terminals, retail, marketing and trading divisions. Hess, which is aiming to focus on its oil production activity, now operates onshore at Thailand's Sinphuhorm gas field, where the firm holds a 35 per cent participating interest. In Indonesia, Hess had operated the deepwater block Semai V in the eastern part of Indonesia before it decided to relinquish the block earlier this year following years of unprofitable exploration. Separately, Widhyawan Prawiraatmadja, the commercial deputy at upstream oil and gas regulatory special task force SKKMigas, said Hess would prefer to sell its Indonesian assets as a whole, including its blocks that were still at the exploration stage.
"It remains an issue whether potential buyers will purchase Hess holdings in Indonesia or cherry pick potential assets," he said. The second-largest crude oil producer in Indonesia after American giant Chevron and the third-largest gas producer after France-based Total and British giant BP, Pertamina is pumping up its output by aggressively purchasing domestic and overseas oil and gas assets. In May, the firm booked a four-fold over-subscription for its offering of global bonds worth $3.25 billion, with the funds being used to finance its acquisition campaign. Hess's fellow American company, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC), sold its three local subsidiaries to Pertamina last year. The subsidiaries comprise Anadarko Ambalat Limited, which has a 33.75 per cent participating interest in the Ambalat block; Anadarko Bukat Limited, which has a 33.75 per cent participating interest in the Bukat block; and Anadarko Indonesia Nunukan Company, which holds a 35 per cent participating interest in the Nunukan block â€“ all in North Kalimantan. The firm aims to acquire a total of five overseas oil and gas blocks by the end of this year. It has refused, however, to reveal details of its acquisition plans due to non-disclosure agreements. This year's acquisitions are expected to boost Pertamina's total production by at least 32,000 bpd of crude oil. As of June this year, Pertamina had produced 207,500 bpd in crude oil, a slight increase from the 195,000 bpd it produced during the same period last year. This output, however, is still below the firm's production target for the end of this year of 223,000 bpd. (The Nation)