Indonesia’s Pertamina Broadens Global Reach with New Oil Block in Gabon

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

Indonesia’s state-owned energy behemoth, Pertamina, is reportedly diversifying its international upstream portfolio through the acquisition of a new oil block in Gabon, West Africa. Pertamina Hulu Energi, a subsidiary of the Indonesian oil company, is in the process of securing approval from Gabon’s government for the block, which is said to boast a production potential of 45,000 barrels of oil per day.

Wiko Migantoro, President Director of Pertamina Hulu Energi (PHE), confirmed the news, stating that the company is awaiting formal approval in Gabon. “We were selected as the winning bidder for the block via our subsidiary,” Migantoro told Indonesian media outlet

Migantoro further elaborated on the terms of the agreement, revealing that Pertamina intends to acquire a 45% stake in this lucrative production asset. “The crude oil from this block may potentially be exported back to Indonesia, depending on whether it meets the specific requirements of our domestic refineries,” he said. 

Migantoro underscored that compliance isn’t just a procedural requirement but a critical factor in determining the crude oil’s utility for Pertamina’s Indonesian refineries. “It’s essential that we conduct a meticulous evaluation against the technical specifications mandated by our domestic refining operations and broader supply chain ecosystem,” he explained. 

“This isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about ensuring that we integrate a product into our supply chain that aligns with our operational standards.” If the acquired crude doesn’t meet these strict criteria, Migantoro stressed that Pertamina would look beyond its domestic operations to find suitable applications or markets. “Failing domestic suitability, we will actively explore alternative avenues such as international markets or derivative products to derive the maximum value from this asset,” he said.

The decision to extend Pertamina’s operations into Gabon is not merely an incremental step but represents a significant strategic pivot for the company. This acquisition serves multiple objectives. 

Firstly, it aims to bolster Pertamina’s position on the global energy stage by widening its geographical footprint. “Expanding into Gabon is part of a larger vision to increase Pertamina’s international credibility and influence, especially in a market as dynamic as West Africa,” added Migantoro.

Secondly, this move allows Pertamina to diversify its crude oil sources, thus reducing its vulnerability to geopolitical fluctuations and market volatilities that might affect its existing supplies. “By adding a new, rich source of crude from Gabon to our portfolio, we are fortifying our supply chain against unforeseen disruptions and increasing our sourcing flexibility,” he explained.

Finally, the expansion opens up new avenues for revenue and growth, offering potential for not just raw material acquisition but also future investments in refining capabilities, downstream products, and even potential partnerships with other energy players in the region.

 “This is about much more than just acquiring crude; it’s about strategically positioning Pertamina for sustained long-term growth and robustness in an increasingly complex and competitive global market,” concluded Migantoro.

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