Upstream oil and gas exploration activities in the North Natuna Sea will continue despite persistent protests from China, Indonesia’s upstream oil and gas regulator SKK Migas said.
“The government has asked (oil and gas contractors) to continue making activities there (in North Natuna Sea) without making noise,” SKK Migas chairman Dwi Soetjipto said during a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission VII on energy and mining on 2 February.
He added that Harbour Energy (LON:HBR), operator of the Tuna Block in the Natuna Sea, which has recently discovered oil and gas potential, continues to make preparations for the plan of development (POD).
UK-based Harbour Energy is driving forward with plans to commercialise discoveries at its Tuna Block offshore Indonesia following a successful appraisal drilling campaign after good flow rates were recorded.
During the appraisal campaign China officially told the Indonesian government to stop the drilling at Harbour Energy’s Tuna Block offshore Indonesia in maritime territory that both nations view as their own during a months-long standoff in the South China Sea.
Harbour’s drilling attracted the attention of Beijing as the Tuna discovery sits in an area also claimed by China through its sweeping claim to most of the South China Sea within its U-shaped ‘nine-dash line’, which is not recognised by its neighbours or internationally by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Tuna PSC lies about 10 nautical miles from the Indonesia-Vietnam maritime border.