July 6, 2020, 11.37 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Royal Dutch Shell Plc (Shell) is withdrawing from Indonesia’s Abadi liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Masela Block and Japanese oil company Inpex Corporation (Inpex), which has the biggest participating right in the project, is currently looking for new partners, an official confirmed on Sunday, July 5.

“Yes, correct [Shell is leaving]. Inpex is currently looking for new partners,” Kontan.co.id quoted Upstream Oil and Gas Special Regulatory Taskforce (SKK Migas) Deputy of Operations Julius Wiratno as saying.

Julius explained that Shell’s withdrawal was due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted the company’s cash flow. Shell decided to focus on other projects taking place in Indonesia.

Shell has 35 percent and Inpex has 65 percent participating right in the Masela Block, respectively. Meanwhile, the regional government will certainly receive a 10 percent participating right in the block. Masela Block is located in the Arafura Sea, about 800 kilometers east of Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara Province.

Also read: Indonesia Eyes Local Covid-19 Vaccine Mass Production by Mid-2021

“Some of Shell’s projects in other countries are not going well so the company’s cash flow is affected. They mainly focus on the ongoing projects now,” he said.

Previously, the head of SKK Migas Dwi Soetjipto said that bleak market outlook for the LNG business has caused some oil and gas companies to be concerned about project implementation, including in the Masela Block.

“Currently, the oil and gas industry is facing serious problems [including] the LNG price. Project owners such as in the Masela project are in fear of the work implementation,” said Dwi a few days ago.

Julius said the project may need more time. But he assured that Inpex was committed to completing the project on time. The Masela Block is to go on stream in 2027.

Talk about Shell’s withdrawal from the project with a total investment of $20 billion began to circulate in the middle of 2019. However, both parties decided to continue to collaborate on the Masela Project.

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