Indonesia signs Exxon as a partner on Natuna gas field

JAKARTA, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Indonesian state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina said on Friday it had signed an agreement with Exxon Mobil to make it a partner in the development of the huge Natuna gas field, and was still talking to other potential partners.

Pertamina, which does not have the technical expertise or financing to develop the project alone, has said it wants to keep a 40 percent stake, with 60 percent to be shared among partners.

Exxon said the agreement signified progress in negotiations to commercialise the Natuna gas field. Negotiations on the field have been running for years and development is still likely to remain years away.

“The agreement provides a framework for finalizing negotiations and working cooperatively to optimize the development of this world class and technically challenging resource,” said Maman Budiman, a spokesman for Exxon.

The Natuna D-Alpha block has about 222 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of which 46 tcf is thought to be commercially recoverable.

The Natuna block is about 1,100 kilometres (700 miles) north of Jakarta and 200 km east of the West Natuna fields, which feeds gas to Singapore and accounts for about a quarter of Indonesia’s total commercially recoverable gas reserves of 182 tcf.

In 2008 Indonesia named eight potential partners: Petronas , Exxon Mobil , Chevron , Total , Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L, Statoil , Eni , and CNPC, which is the parent of PetroChina . (Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Neil Chatterjee)