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Conflicts a threat to Indonesia's energy

Three Chinese charged with vandalising Nigerian pipeline
Lagos (AFP) March 29, 2011 - Three Chinese citizens have been charged with vandalising a fuel pipeline and illegally storing more than 1,000 litres of petrol in Lagos, Nigeria's anti-graft agency said Tuesday. They were charged on Monday with vandalising a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation underground pipeline and storing 1,100 litres of petrol, it said in a statement.

The three pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge and the judge fixed a hearing on their bail application for Wednesday after ordering their remand in prison custody. They were arrested in January in Lagos, Nigeria's economic capital, in possession of several kegs and drums of petrol, the statement said. There is a significant illegal oil and fuel industry in Nigeria, with gangs in the oil-producing Niger Delta accused of earning large amounts of money from the practice.
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (UPI) Mar 28, 2011
Political conflict in oil producing countries could worsen the energy situation in Indonesia, an industry official said.

Effendi Siradjuddin, chairman of the country's National Oil and Gas Companies' Association warned Jakarta to be "seriously wary" of a domino effect of political turmoil in the Middle East in light of skyrocketing global oil prices in the past month.

"Seen from (a) domestic energy production and consumption aspect, the political turmoil in the Middle East has a potential to make our energy condition become more critical, and therefore it must be seriously anticipated," he said in a statement Sunday, Antara News reports.

Effendi said Indonesia had an oil deficit of about 1 million barrels per day, which he said could increase to 3 million barrels per day in five years. The country's production capacity is 950,000 barrels per day, while consumption is 1.4 million barrels per day, he said.

Effendi suggested the government take action, for example, by building a mass transportation system and promoting the conversion of vehicles from fuel to natural gas or electricity.

But earlier this month, prior to the United States and NATO military attacks on Libya, Indonesia's Mineral and Energy Ministry Director for Oil and Gas Evita Herawati Legowo said that because most of the country's oil imports come from Asian countries, the unrest wasn't likely to have a major impact on Indonesia's oil supply, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Legowo said Indonesia's imports from the Middle East account for around 7 percent of the country's total fuel imports and for about 12 percent of its total crude oil imports.

State oil and gas firm PT Pertamina's Marketing Director Djaelani Sutomo had said that if the situation had worsened, Indonesia had agreed with Malaysia and Vietnam to support one another if oil shortfalls occurred.

"If one of us has more oil, that country will help the one having difficulties finding oil," he was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post.

Indonesia relies on fossil fuel-based sources for 95.21 percent of its energy, with oil accounting for 46.93 percent, followed by coal at 26.38 percent and gas at 21.9 percent.

While Indonesia claims about 40 percent of the world's geothermal reserves, it accounts for just 1.5 percent of its energy.

By 2020, the Indonesian government aims to provide electricity access to 90 percent of its population. Currently, about 65 percent have access.

earlier related report
Philippines to upgrade airstrip on disputed island
Manila (AFP) March 29, 2011 - The Philippines said Tuesday it would upgrade a military airfield on an island that is part of a territorial dispute with China, but insisted the work had nothing to do with a recent spike in tensions.

Repairs to the deteriorating runway on Pag-asa, also known as Thitu, in the Spratly archipelago were needed to ensure supplies could continue to be flown to people living there, military spokesman Commodore Mike Rodriguez told AFP.

"It is a restoration job. We are not building anything new. We are repairing the damaged portions," Rodriguez said.

"We have a municipality there with civilians living on the island. We need to supply them with basic services."

The 31-million-peso (715,000-dollar) repair of the runway on Pag-asa, one of the largest of the Spratly islands, is not related to recent tensions between the Philippines and China in the disputed South China Sea, Rodriguez said.

The Philippines and China, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam claim all or part of the Spratlys, which are believed to sit on vast mineral resources.

The Philippines recently complained that Chinese patrol boats inappropriately harassed a Filipino oil exploration vessel in disputed waters near the Spratlys early this month.

The Philippines then announced last week it was planning to pursue oil exploration in the South China Sea.

On both occasions China reiterated its exclusive claims to all the disputed areas, much of which is closer to Philippine land than Chinese.

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