Indonesia close to rejoining OPEC

The state-owned Pertamina oil and gas rig off the west coast of Java

Indonesia is close to rejoining Opec despite a continuing decline in crude output in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.The country hopes to be readmitted to the oil producers’ cartel at the December meeting of Opec nations, seven years after Jakarta suspended its membership amid falling production. In a statement on Tuesday, Opec said Jakarta had submitted an official request to reactivate its membership, which had been circulated to cartel members for approval.

Following feedback, Sudirman Said, Indonesian energy minister, would be invited to Opec’s December meeting, it said. “This will include the formalities of reactivating Indonesia’s membership of the organisation. . . Indonesia has contributed much to Opec’s history. We welcome its return,” the statement added. Although the country exports some crude, it remains a net importer because of its need for refined products. Industry analysts say re-entering the cartel has clear benefits for Indonesia, where a fast-growing population is driving demand for oil and the government is pushing ahead with plans to expand the refining industry. “Oil production is declining rapidly here,” said a Jakarta-based consultant in the oil and gas sector. “To have good contacts, which membership of Opec would give them, would help them in procuring or negotiating competitive deals.”