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Pertamina, Exxon Jointly Operate in Cepu

Indonesias Pertamina and US-based oil company Exxon Mobil have agreed to jointly operate in Cepu

Indonesian state-run firm Pertamina and US-based oil company Exxon Mobil have agreed to jointly operate in Cepu oil block in East Java province, according to Exxon spokesperson and media report here on Monday.

"We will operate together with Pertamina,"spokesperson of Exxon Mobil Deva Rahman told Xinhua in telephone.

The two sides have finished their discussions on the operation of the two-billion U.S. dollars oil field, Deva said, adding, "the JOA (joint operation agreement) has been completed."

Separately, another Exxon spokesman Maman Budiman, who was quoted by Tempo daily as saying that an official from the U.S. company would take the post of general manager.

The draft of the agreement has been agreed by the two companies,and would probably be signed on Tuesday, he said.

Pertamina has been locked in a battle since last year with Exxon over who will operate the Cepu oilfield, Indonesia's biggestoil discovery in recent years, which may boost the country's declining production by some 20 percent.

The Cepu oil block, which is one of the Exxon's ten biggest undeveloped oil finds, is targeted to produce about 180,000 barrels per day and can increase 20 percent of the country's current production of 1.05 million barrel per day.

The Indonesian government expects the Cepu oil block to begin production in 2008, Mines and Energy minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said.