Indonesia to become LNG importer

THE world’s former LNG kingpin, Indonesia, has long since fallen off its throne, conceding the title to Qatar several years ago, but the archipelago is expected to become a net importer of gas as early as 2020 as Australia becomes the reigning gas export champion.
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Haydn Black


BMI Research has estimated that with estimated annual demand growth rate of 4% over the next 10 years, amid dwindling output at mature gas fields, the twin forces are conspiring to transform Indonesia into a net importer, and little can be done in the short-term to stop the change.
Indonesian demand is expected to primarily come from the power generation sector.
While Indonesia's location in the Pacific Ocean should create a ready market for producers in Australia or Papua New Guinea, so far neither nation has gained from its geographic advantage.
However, Horizon Oil has made no secret that its mid-scale LNG ambitions based on its currently stranded PNG gas-condensate fields, and is targeting the Indonesian market for future sales.
"State-owned Pertamina signed a deal with the United States' Corpus Christi project starting next year and it also signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates National Oil Company to purchase LNG supplies from the UAE counterparts based on needs," BMI said.
"This will see Indonesia becoming a net LNG importer by 2022," it added.
The report said with the country's need for gas imports grows, more deals could be coming their way.
Indonesia exported 3.9 million tonnes of LNG in the first quarter of the year, a drop by 7.5% year-on-year while falling 15% below the five-year average. 
France's largest gas-producer, Total, has already warned of a deeper slump in supply at the Bontang LNG plant in East Kalimantan. 
A drop of 10% was expected this year, primarily caused by expenditure cuts taken over the past few tears during the oil glut.
Concerns over the ownership of the Mahakam block also saw Total reduce investment in Indonesia.
Total expected Mahakam's gas output to drop to 1.43 billion cubic feet per day in 2017 and oil production to 53,000 barrels of oil per day, both down from the block's 2016 production levels, it said in December.
State-run Pertamina is preparing to take over operatorship of the block in 2018, and it plans to drill 15 wells to address the decline in production. 
It is talking with Total about how to take over operatorship, while Total has asked to remain in the block at 39% with Inpex, but no decision has been made by the Indonesian government. 
Indonesia's government in 2015 offered the two companies a combined 30% stake when the new PSC comes into force at the end of the year.
Total and Inpex have also requested the addition of several clauses to the new contract, including being able to sell gas at market prices to domestic buyers, getting a 17% investment credit for developing the block, and the acceleration of asset depreciation. 
The loss of big investors such as Total and Inpex could be a major hit to Indonesia's aim to boost oil and gas production.