Friday, March 10, 2006

Elections and the assets of Irian Jaya Barat

From Yosef Ardi

The three teams contesting the first election for the new province of irian Jaya Barat in Indonesian New Guinea are Abraham Oktavianus Atururi-Rahimin Katjong (endorsed by PDI-P, Partai Damai Sejahtera and Partai Serikat Islam), Yorris Raweyai-HM Killian (Golkar Pary), and Dortheis 'Decky' Asmuruf-Ali Kastela (six parties, including PPP, PAN, and PIB).

The province has around 647,000 residents in nine regencies (Sorong, Manokwari, Fak Fak, Sorong Selatan, Raja Ampat, Teluk Bintuni, Teluk Wondama, Kalimana, and Kota Sorong). With hundreds of local tribes, Javanese makes up the largest of Irajabar population at 11.23%, followed by Biak Numfor (7.41%), Iwur (5.64%), and Bugis (4.59%).

Irjabar has huge oil and gas reserves. The US$3 billion LNG Tangguh project, owned by BP, CNOOC, and Japanese companies, is located in the Teluk Bintuni regency. Gas fields in Muturi, Berau, and Wiriagar with estimated reserves of 14 trillion cubic feet (TCF) will be the main soure of supply for the Tangguh LNG plants.

BP is involved in five oil and gas exploration activities in the new province. They are West Arguni, East Arguni, Berau, Wiriagar, and Babo. PetroChina, Lundin International, Pearl Oil, and Pertamina co-owns the Kepala Burung Block which already in the production stage. The same companies also operate the Salawati Block, also producing oil. Lundin has another block called Sareba, Bintuni basin. Meanwhile Medco International through its subsidiary PT Expan Nusantara has exploration activity in Yapen block, Manokwari regency

Fishing is the second most important industry. Several foreign-owned companies involved in Sorong's fishery business are PT Usaha Mina, PT West Irian Industries Fishing (WIIF), PT Irian Marine Product Development (IMPD), PT Alfa Kurnia and PT Dwi Bina Mutiara.

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