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Asian Petroleum Review : Jan-March 2011
Indonesia's crude imports will keep rising over the next few years as its economy re- bounds and a delay in getting peak output from the giant Cepu field defeats efforts to cut dependence on overseas crude. Indonesia's need for crude imports for its sim- ple refineries will feed competition among top Asian buyers such as China and India for sweet grades as regional supplies from matured fields dwindle while strong dated Brent prices may curb arbitrage flows from the Atlantic Basin. "I think it is a combination of increased de- mand, less product imports in favour of crude and improved refinery utilisation," said Al Troner, president of Asia Pacific Energy Con- sulting. Southeast Asia's largest economy imported 11 percent more crude this year than in 2009, at around 103,000 barrels per day (bpd), as refin- eries improved processing rates. This followed annual declines of 10-12 percent between 2007 and last year, data from Reuters and FACTS Global Energy showed. The country will remain one of Asia's top buyers of sweet crude to feed its refineries, which lack upgrading capabilities to process domestic grades that have increasingly higher sulphur content. It has also built new storage tanks for bigger imports. AGEING, OUTAGE-PRONE OILFIELDS Indonesia could have boosted its refinery utilisa- tion to 90 to 95 percent from 80 to 85 percent in recent years, said John Vautrain, senior vice president of Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "The quality of refining operations is improving. " But a lack of new oil refining capacity, as well as growing use of gas and coal in critical industries, could cap purchases over the next few years. The former OPEC member's push to limit oil im- ports by boosting domestic supply took a hit from problems last month at its two largest fields, Minas and Duri. The country's production is set to fall short of the 965,000-bpd goal this year, after the outage stopped the steady rise in crude output seen for most of the first eight months. Declining output at Indonesia's ageing fields and sudden shutdowns in oil wells have often de- railed its plans to meet annual production tar- gets. Indonesia struggles to hold down oil imports By Florence Tan SINGAPORE