Indonesia has initiated its first oil and gas auction of the year, offering five blocks as part of a move to enhance exploration and combat the decline in production, reported Reuters

The auction was announced at the Indonesia Petroleum Association annual conference. 

Indonesia’s Energy Minister, Arifin Tasrif, said: “To meet oil and gas demand, Indonesia is currently focusing its efforts on exploring oil and gas basins considering that Indonesia still holds abundant untapped oil and gas reserves.”  

Out of 128 hydrocarbon basins in Indonesia, 68 are yet to be explored. 

According to the Energy Ministry’s Senior Official, Dadan Kusdiana, the sites offered in the auction include the Pesut Mahakam onshore block in East Kalimantan province, which is estimated to hold 1.1 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.  

The Central Andaman exploration blocks are also on offer, with resources estimated at 100 million barrels (mbbl) of oil and 500 billion cubic feet of gas. 

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Also included in the auction is the Melati block in Sulawesi, which spans both onshore and offshore fields.  

It is estimated to contain 4.7tcf of gas and 850mbbl of oil.  

The government has further plans to offer up to ten new blocks in 2024, potentially including gas blocks in the northern Sumatra region. 

In a separate development, Indonesia signed a production sharing contract with Malaysia’s Petronas for the Bobara block off West Papua and amended the contract for the Ketapang block off Java with Petronas and its partners.  

The combined investment commitments for these two contracts stand at around $97m (Rp1.55tn)  

Earlier in the week, Mubadala Energy, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, announced a gas discovery at the Tangkulo-1 well in the South Andaman region offshore North Sumatra.  

The well, drilled to a depth of 3,400m in 1,200m of water, encountered an 80m gas column within an Oligocene sandstone reservoir.  

This discovery, following the Layaran-1 well find in December 2023, positions South Andaman as a major gas play globally, with potential reserves exceeding 2tcf of gas.