Indonesia ponders leaving OPEC

The government of Indonesia, facing a steady decline in the country's oil production, is considering plans to withdraw as a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 8 -- The government of Indonesia, facing a steady decline in the country's oil production, is considering plans to withdraw as a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"During a cabinet meeting [on May 5], we discussed whether we would stay in OPEC or leave, as we struggle to boost our oil production to reach a level where we deserve to be a member of the organization," said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
"Our oil production is currently below 1 million b/d because of aging wells," said Susilo. "We need about 2 or 3 years to increase production," Susilo said, adding that Indonesia is the only OPEC member that is a net oil importer.

"We only had preliminary talks on this matter during [the May 5] meeting, so we will further analyze the consequences," said Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro. He said the government would continue studying options to leave OPEC.

Indonesia, which joined OPEC in 1962 as the group's only Southeast Asian member, produces 927,000 b/d, down from 950,000 b/d last year. Calls for the government to withdraw from OPEC have been increasing due to the financial cost of belonging to the group.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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