Statoil opens Indonesian treasure-hunt

In a ‘first man on the moon’ move, Norway’s Statoil has started drilling exploration wells in the Makassar Strait.

“We’re starting with a clean sheet of paper as nobody has drilled exactly here before,” Statoil country manager for Indonesia, Tor Fjæran, tells Aftenbladet about the Karama field located between Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

Most giant international oil companies joined the hunt for black gold after eastern Makassar Strait deepwater areas were opened for exploration in 2006. Nevertheless, Statoil CEO Helge Lund is betting on major discovery successes by voyaging into the unknown with a hitherto untried exploration model.
“We’ve committed to drilling three wells on Karama this year and will know more about subsurface contents during the course of 2012,” Mr Fjæran says.

The company secured two deepwater licenses in G20 member Indonesia about five years ago, with access to further acreage in three rounds in 2011. Mr Fjæran oversees development of eight licenses.

Asia is the world’s fastest-growing energy market today. Statoil calculates Asia’s oil demand accounts for 70 percent of the growth in world demand.

Average yearly economic growth is estimated at six percent, and more Indonesians are driving cars.

“Growth such as this requires energy, which is why focus on oil and gas in the region is so strong,” says Mr Fjæran.

Moreover, with unemployment reduced by seven percent in recent years, and inflation under control, “This is a country to be reckoned with now, and not least in the future.”

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