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Indonesia Offers 33 New Fields for Exploration

Indonesia will offer 33 new exploration areas to global and local energy firms

Indonesia will offer 33 new exploration areas to global and local energy firms in an effort to boost the country's flagging oil production, Mines and Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on Tuesday.

Bidding will begin on August 28 for the blocks that include five offshore blocks off Natuna island, seven off Sulawesi and five onshore fields in Sumatra and four in East Kalimantan, a mines and energy ministry official said.

The government will close the offers for 21 blocks being offered under direct proposals on October 11 while the deadline for rest being offered by regular tenders is December 26, Priyono, the energy ministry's upstream director, told reporters.

Indonesia, Asia Pacific's only Opec member, has been offering new exploration rights and financial incentives for oilfields in a bid to stem a steady decline in production as the country has failed to tap new oilfields fast enough to meet domestic demand.

Several global energy firms such as Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp say they are interested in the new oil exploration areas. There was no estimate of the reserves in the new blocks being offered. Chevron, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips already operate several oil blocks in Indonesia.

Purnomo said Indonesia had 8.6 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and about 182 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. He gave no details. Indonesia's crude oil output fell to 887,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July - a 35-year low - and down from 900,000 bpd in June, hit by production problems in several oilfields and maintenance, an industry source has said.