Indonesia oil regulator suggests giving tenders to Pertamina amid scandal
JAKARTA, Sept 5
JAKARTA, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Indonesia's scandal-hit energy regulator has proposed handing the management of crude and condensate sales tenders to state-owned oil company Pertamina in a bid to reduce the potential for graft, government officials said on Thursday.
The proposal comes a few weeks after former SKKMigas chairman Rudi Rubiandini was arrested by an anti-graft agency on suspicion of accepting a bribe from an oil trading company that had won a series of Indonesian condensate tenders.
Now SKKMigas wants to change existing regulations and hand over to Pertamina the auction of about 70,000 barrels a day (bpd) of the country's crude and condensate output.
"This move will reduce the potential [for graft]," energy ministry spokesman Saleh Abdurrahman said, referring to the corruption scandal involving Rubiandini, three other SKKMigas officials and a top energy ministry official.
Southeast Asia's largest economy is struggling to restore confidence in its energy sector and reverse declining oil and gas output, but the graft scandal and regulatory uncertainties have increased investor concerns.
Pending approval from the government and SKKMigas' supervisory committee, Pertamina would oversee tenders for certain types of crude and condensate that cannot be processed at Indonesian refineries, Abdurrahman said.
A spokesman for SKKMigas, Elan Biantoro, confirmed the proposal, but couldn't say how soon the government would be able implement the change.
Biantoro said the issue needed to be discussed further among various government bodies. Pertamina also hasn't yet said if it would be willing to take over the tender process, he said.
Pertamina was not immediately available for comment.
Indonesia has targeted to produce 840,000 bpd in 2013, of which around 85 percent goes to the government. (Editing by Tom Hogue)
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