Indonesia intends to auction ten oil and gas working areas, including a block in the South China Sea, this year, reported Reuters, citing a senior energy ministry official.

This is part of the country’s efforts to increase energy production and find new discoveries.

Last year, Indonesia auctioned 13 oil and gas fields. It appointed contractors for six of those fields.

Indonesia intends to reach crude oil lifting of one million barrels per day (bpd) and gas lifting of 12,000 million standard cubic feet per day by the end of this decade.

In 2022, due to delays in projects and shutdowns, it missed its oil and gas lifting target.

This year, Indonesia intends to auction working areas in Natuna D Alpha, which features major gas fields in the South China Sea, energy ministry official Tutuka Ariadji said.

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Ariadji added: “Hopefully this year, in May, we would be ready to launch the offering. We also need to gauge the interest for this Natuna block before we open this to public offering.”

In 2022, the country gave its approval to a $3bn development plan for the Natuna gas field in the South China Sea.

Tutuka is hopeful about the resumption of the stopped gas mega-projects such as Masela and Indonesia Deepwater Development (IDD) soon.

According to upstream oil and gas regulator SKK Migas, Chevron is close to signing a deal with an investor to transfer its interest in IDD, reported the news agency.

Last week, Tutuka refused to divulge details regarding the discussion on IDD equity.

Pertamina, the state oil and gas entity of Indonesia, is still holding talks with Shell to potentially acquire its partnership in the Masela project.