TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has scrapped plans to auction Ciremai Mountain geothermal working area in West Java. The government will appoint state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina to become the operator of the area. “They [local residents] at the vicinity of Ciremai Block suggested it be operated by Pertamina,” Energy Ministry Geothermal director Yunus Saefulhak told Tempo yesterday.
Yunus received the suggestions when he conveyed the planned auction of Ciremai Block to 20 local nongovernmental organizations. Yunus said that locals are against natural resources operatorship by foreign firms.
Chevron was the previous operator of Ciremai Block. Locals had been against the US-based firm presence. After years of uncertainty, Chevron returned Ciremai Block to the Indonesian Government in 2015.
The government had previously planned to hold an auction by mid-November last year. The ministry now is aiming to develop geothermal electricity in Ciremai with a capacity of 110 megawatt (MW) of a total capacity of 150 MW. The block covers an area of 38,560 hectares.
Yunus said that Pertamina’s appointment will not be concluded in the near future as the Energy Ministry awaits a government regulation on indirect geothermal utilization. The ball is now in the State Secretariat Ministry’s court.
Ciremai Block will add to Pertamina’s working area to six. Yunus declined to name the other five areas.
Pertamina said that it has submitted operatorship proposal. Pertamina will let its subsidiary PT Pertamina Geothermal Energi (PGE) to become the operator.