LOS ANGELES, Feb. 24 -- Indonesia's concerns over its falling crude oil production has prompted the government to set up a team to review the country's membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro in early February told a hearing of the House of Representatives' mining and environment commission that, despite the advantages of being a member of the oil cartel, the country faced several problems in maintaining its membership.
"We are studying whether we are already a net oil importer and thus no longer eligible to be an OPEC member," the minister said. "The team will forward the results of the study to the Cabinet, as any plan for our withdrawal from OPEC will be a diplomatic issue."
He acknowledged that the country's crude oil exports dropped to 30,000 b/d in 2004 from 100,000 b/d in 2003.
Reports from the Central Statistics Agency said Indonesia's oil and gas imports—including both crude oil and oil products—increased by 52% in 2004 due to the country's declining oil production and rising domestic demand of as much as 7%/year.
The ministry's Director General for Oil and Gas Iin Arifin Takhyan said Indonesia was a net oil importer for 4 months in 2004. The country's annual average oil output has fallen by 5% over the last decade to less than 1 million b/d.
On Feb. 21, the official Antara news agency quoted Hardy Prasetyo, Indonesia's deputy chairman of the Oil Fuel Socialization Team, as saying Indonesia's reserves stood at 4.82 billion bbl, or about 1% of world petroleum reserves, according to official estimates.