Regional unrest shuts in some Indonesian production

Indonesians ignited woodpiles around PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia wellheads in Riau province Monday in a protest demanding land compensation. The fires burned 2 hr, causing up to $240,000 in damages. The wells were expected to be shut in at least a week, halting 500-b/d in production.


SINGAPORE�Indonesians ignited woodpiles around PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia wellheads in Riau province Monday in a protest that demanded land compensation.

The fires burned 2 hr, causing up to $240,000 in damage to pumps but failing to ignite the wells. About 500 b/d of production was expected to be shut in at least a week.

Riau province has been the site of several recent incidents. Protesters have demanded land compensation and jobs, and have alleged environmental pollution by Caltex, the area's largest producer.

Caltex general manager Gary Fitzgerald said two separate groups of farmers were behind the most recent disturbance. One had been compensated for its land and the second was supposed to have been compensated by the first, he said.

PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia is the local unit of Singapore-based Caltex Corp, a joint venture of Chevron Corp. and Texaco Inc.

This year similar disruptions in Riau have cost Caltex about 15,000-30,000 b/d in lost production out of the company's target of 740,000.

Last month, Duri villagers demanding Caltex jobs blockaded roads and burned vehicles, disrupting production for more than a week.

Riau province has one of the lowest standards of living in Indonesia. Disruptions have occurred with increasing frequency since the downfall of former president Suharto.

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