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ConocoPhillips asks to extend operations in Indonesia gas block

JAKARTA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - US energy giant ConocoPhillips has asked Indonesia's energy ministry to extend its operations in the Corridor natural gas block after its current contract ends in December 2023, a ministry official said.

ConocoPhillips (Grissik) Ltd had submitted a letter regarding its Corridor plans, but still needed to submit a formal proposal on the matter, Oil and Gas Director General Djoko Siswanto told reporters on Monday.

Without a formal proposal this month, the right to operate the block would be "given to Pertamina", Siswanto said, noting that the sizeable output from the block in South Sumatra province would be attractive to the state oil company.

ConocoPhillips (Grissik) Vice President for Commercial and Business Development Taufik Ahmad confirmed the company had sent the letter expressing its interest in extending its Corridor operations.

However, Ahmad said, Conoco "still needed more comprehensive discussions" with SKKMigas - Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator - before it could submit a proposal for the extension.

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Indonesia is pushing to nationalise more of its oil and gas assets as it tries to reduce imports and boost government revenues, but experts warn this approach discourages investors and global energy companies with expertise crucial to maintaining its energy output.

Corridor produced 828.4 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day (mmcfd) on average from January to July this year, and is expected to churn out 810 mmcfd in 2019, recent SKKMigas data showed.

Repsol currently holds a 36 per cent participating interest in the block.


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