Monday, March 22, 2010

New Decree Cost Recovery Scheme Oil and Gas

From reading some sources it appears that Indonesia will issue a government decree which will clarify what oil and gas contractors can claim under a scheme to reimburse their operational costs, including exploration spending. 

Cost Recovery Scheme.

As we are aware under the Indonesian system for the oil and gas operations it  adopts Cost Recovery mechanism for all the costs for exploration and production costs, incurred  by the Oil and Gas Contractors where it consists operation costs for the expenditure of current year and the capital costs which will recover based on the life time use of such capital item depending on the Group under the Accounting Clauses as Appendix in the PSC ( Production Sharing Contracts.    

Intervened by the DPR ( Parliament)to Limit The Cost Recovery Items

The House of the People's Representative has intervened for having limits on such  Cost Recovery. As we may noticed some of the Technical Assistance Agreement (TAC) in the Oil and Gas  previously  has a  certain cap for the Cost Recovery for the running Year. To guarantee the Government's cash in for its State Budget the  FTP or First Tranche Petroleum was adopted where the value is  equal to  20% of the Total Oil and Gas  production of the current Year  has to be  firstly deducted before Cost Recovery  is done to reimburse such costs  during the current running  Year.  So the Reimbursement is taken out from the remaining 80% of such Current Year Oil and Gas production.

We understand from reading the news that the Finance Minister Sri Mulyani  said  in a parliamentary hearing that such Decree will contain special rules for oil and gas, especially on cost recovery to calculate (production) sharing and tax.

The Minister said that in this decree, the costs will be based on normal principles of business and tax rules.

Furthermore she said  that the government had previously issued sort of a "negative list of items and services that oil and gas contractors working in Indonesia could not be reimbursed for.

The list includes the cost of employees, expatriate costs, as well as costs for legal and tax consultants, and community development expenditure.

However according to the sources the Minister said that the decree is not aimed to intimidate those claiming costs. If the costs are related to exploration, exploitation and development, it can be claimed from the government.

It is noted that Indonesia expects the spending by  the Oil and Gas Contractors for  exploration in the  Indonesian Oil and Gas Fields Area will fall to $2.3 billion this year, which is down  to about 15  %  from the Estimated $2.7 billion in the Year  2009.

The Crude production, which was about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the 1990s, has nearly halved for which Indonesia has in the current years become a net importer of crude oil. We are aware that the Major Global Oil and Gas Players such as ConocoPhillips, Chevron (CVX.N), (COP.N) and Total (TOTF.PA) are operating  in Indonesia,  however the country  appears to be struggling  to attract fresh investment to develop new fields.

Indonesia is Producing  949,100 Bpd of crude oil and condensate in the Year 2009, which is missing a target of 960,000 Bpd in  such Year.

A certain sources said that the target of producing 965,000 Bpd  of crude and condensate this year would be very difficult to be accomplished  since  the Output from  the Older wells was falling  to about 10-15 percent per year. In order to encourage the Exploration we understand that The Government  has offered New  Exploration  Rights and  will provide new incentives to oil and gas investors, including more favorable tax treatment and a better production split.

However there are others saying that the incentives may not be sufficient for the Oil and Gas Investors  since many of the unexplored fields are in the Remote Locations and often in deep water, and so expensive to develop.

We can observe in practice that incentives issues are always brought up when a certain Oil and Gas Investors are having a negotiation with the Government Team in the process of getting a deal in a new contract in the Oil and Gas such as PSC, TAC or JOB. The Oil and Gas are taking all the Risks for the sinking funds if oil and gas is not commercially discovered. However, as we also note that pursuant to the spirit of  the  principles under the Indonesian Basic Constitutional  Law Article 33 (3)  the Resources which are owned by the public has to be managed for the social best welfare to increase the quality life of the people of Indonesia as a whole. Thus the concept of treating oil and gas Resources in Indonesia has a different approach with countries adopting the Concession Right where any person / party  can own the oil and gas which is discovered under the land such party/person owns.     

Accordingly, besides the Commercial side and consideration that had to be considered by the Oil and Gas players in Indonesia, we have to remember that  the Government of Indonesia as well as the House of Representatives  has to balance  the commercial side and the public function aspects.   

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