BP is keen to start oil and gas exploration in a new area of the West Papua province of Indonesia, the Indonesia Energy Ministry said.

Indonesia Energy Ministry director Edy Hermantoro told Reuters that the company has submitted a request to begin exploration in a new area near Tangguh.

“We welcome their intention and we are now studying their proposal,” Hermantoro said.

The Wiriagar, Muturi and Berau blocks in West Papua, which are operated by BP’s Indonesian unit, contain a total of 14.4tcf of gas.

Tangguh is estimated to have proven and probable reserves totalling 23tcf of gas.

In a bid to increase low production and investment Indonesia provided a new tender for 24 oil and gas blocks in December last year.

The country has also proposed new incentives to investors in the oil and gas sector to step up exploration activity within the country and help curb the fall in production.

Since 2001, the country’s proven and potential oil reserves have fallen from 9.6 billion barrels to 8.3 billion barrels.