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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Indonesia, Ecuador to boost energy co-op

JAKARTA, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia's stated-owned oil and gas company Pertamina Inc., would began oil and gas exploration in Ecuador next year, president of the company Ari Sumarno said here Monday.

The president told reporters after he accompanied Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyoo's meeting with his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Vincente Correa Delgado at the State Palace that the exploration would be conducted in three onshore blocks of Lagio Agrio, Dunete and Dureno.

After the meeting, it was signed an agreement on the cooperation on gas and oil cooperation of both countries.

"We will begin (exploration) next year. (Pertamina now) is preparing for drilling, we will send equipment there (to Ecuador) to the three blocks," he told reporters.

Sumarno said that he predicted that the work would take three years on the three blocks which now have total capacity of 10,000 barrels per day.

He said that with the cooperation and the implementation of technology, it was expected that "the blocks could rise production up to 60,000 barrels per day."

Sumarno said that the Pertamina had initially invested over 50 million U.S. dollars in the blocks.

Should the exploration fail, the work could be shifted to rehabilitate current pumps, he said.

During the his joint press conference with Correa, President Susilo said that the two countries agreed to boost cooperation on energy sector.

"My country wants to establish as soon as possible, (and) is working with Indonesia for exploration and exploitation of gas and petroleum through a joint of action (between) Petro Equador from our side and Pertamina on the other," said Correa on his part.

President Susilo said that both countries were facing decreasing on their national oil production and insisted to boost production through technology implementation.

Indonesia has attempted to boost crude oil output as the country has failed to find new oilfields.

The country's aging wells and lack of investment in the energy sector have pushed the country to become a net crude oil importer, although it is still a net energy exporter, thanks to a large amount of supply of natural gas and coal.

Indonesia increased fuel prices sharply in October 2005 to cut crippling energy subsidies, but they are still among the cheapest in the world.

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