Indonesia is considering creating a consortium to acquire Shell’s 35% stake in the $20bn Masela gas project, reported Reuters, citing the country’s Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia.

Lahadalia told parliament that Shell seeks to offload its stake from the project, which is also known as the Abadi liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

As a result, a consortium comprising state-owned energy firm Pertamina, the Indonesia Investment Authority (INA) sovereign wealth fund, and other firms, could consider acquiring the stake in the gas project from Shell.

Japan’s energy company Inpex operates the project with a 65% stake. The operator plans to make the final investment decision on the project in the later half of this decade.

Lahadalia was quoted by Reuters as saying to the lawmakers: “The president has ordered me and the state-owned enterprises minister to prioritise the Masela gas project.”

He further said the Saumlaki town in the Tanimbar Islands could be an ideal location for the project due to the availability of basic infrastructure.

Pertamina CEO Nicke Widyawati told a separate parliament meeting that the company is looking to purchase stakes in the Masela project.

Widyawati told lawmakers: “The point is, we are interested because this is a giant discovery which could increase gas reserves and production.”

Pertamina is expected to launch due diligence on the project in the near future. Any decision by the firm pertaining to the investment would be based on the project’s commercial feasibility, Widyawati noted.

The project will be equipped to produce approximately 9.5 million tonnes of LNG per year and up to 35 thousand barrels of condensate per day.

The project will also supply 150 million cubic feet of natural gas per day through the pipeline to meet the local demand.