Norman Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesia is estimated to lose between 10,000 and 15,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from oil theft in several regions, according to the Upstream Oil and Gas Special Regulatory Task Force (SKK Migas).
SKK Migas advisor Satya Widya Yudha said on July 15 that such illegal drilling – where individuals siphon oil from long-distance pipelines – has been reported in many regions including Riau, Kalimantan, Java and Papua.
"It's happening right before our eyes," he said at a webinar hosted by extractive industry watchdog Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia.
"The mass involvement of locals makes it difficult for local authorities to act," added the seasoned oil and gas industry player. "Because it relates to their livelihoods."
The siphoned oil equals to less than 2 percent of Indonesia's oil production last year, when ready-to-use production averaged 746,222 bopd, SKK Migas data shows.
While the percentage appears small, the volume is significant for a country struggling to push oil production above 800,000 bopd, said Satya.
With the global health crisis pressuring the oil price amid low demand, the task force has revised down its 2020 oil production target by 4 percent to 725,000 barrels per day. It also revised down its gas production target by 14.2 percent to 5,727 million metric standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd).
To stop the unlawful practice, SKK Migas and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry were working on a ministerial regulation that would allow national-level security personnel, whether police or the armed forces (TNI), to intervene, he added.
Energy ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.