01 June 2008

Indonesia to export oil in five years

Special Broadcasting Service - 29 May, 2008
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Indonesia hopes to return to oil exporting in five years, the vice president reportedly said after Jakarta announced it was quitting the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"Our target is that in five years we can be an exporter again given that our oil fields have been explored efficiently and we are saving energy domestically," Vice President Jusuf Kalla was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

Kalla noted OPEC was a grouping of oil exporters, saying, "later if we start exporting we can join again".

Indonesia announced on Wednesday that it would not renew its OPEC membership when it expires later this year, as the country had become a net importer due to years of declining investment in ageing fields.

The cost of sustaining massive fuel subsidies in the face of record oil prices forced the Indonesian government last week to hike the retail fuel price by some 30 per cent.

The move has sparked widespread protests and piled pressure on the government ahead of elections next year.

Some Indonesian officials have blamed OPEC for not doing enough to boost supply to ease upward pressure on oil markets.

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