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Geothermal, a powerful new hope

Article - November 12, 2014

As Indonesia works to complement its hydrocarbons base with a mix of renewable sources, innovative companies like Star Energy have risen to the occasion


Created in 2003, Star Energy has achieved sustained growth by combining the best practices of major international energy companies, including technical excellence, financial prudence, risk management and good governance, while avoiding high overheads, sprawling organizational structures and bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Star Energy boasts a unique portfolio of hydrocarbon and renewable assets that spans the Indonesian archipelago and represents a sampling of some of the country’s most promising resources. This includes natural gas fields in the Natuna Sea, home to a massive deposit considered to be the largest untapped natural gas field in Asia, with over 46 trillion cubic feet of reserves.

Onshore, Star Energy has several sites in development, having secured production sharing contracts in the Tarakan and South Sumatra basins.

“With oil and gas prices as they are, we are very committed to expansion,” says Rudy Suparman, Star Energy’s President Director.

“We have excellent opportunities in our exploration blocks and we are preparing to drill two infill wells this year. In 2016 we will drill three or four wells for exploration, to prove our additional reserves. Our aim is to confirm an additional 127 million barrels in reserves by 2016. This sounds ambitious, but we believe that we have significant existing potential that, when utilized, will meet this target.”

In addition to these exploration and production prospects, Star Energy has successfully branched out into geothermal power. In line with its long-term strategy of creating value for all its stakeholders, the company moved into the sector with the acquisition of its first facility in 2004.

A Joint Operation Contract (JOC) with the national oil and gas company, Pertamina, gives Star Energy the right to develop up to 400MW of electricity in power hungry West Java.  “Star Energy took over the Wayang Windu project in West Java to operate geothermal assets,” Mr. Suparman explains. “We have since worked to develop this site and in February 2009, we had a major breakthrough when we built our own additional geothermal power unit. As a result, since this time we are operating two units at Wayang Windu, supplying Indonesia with more electricity generated through clean, green renewable means.”

Although the regulatory environment in Indonesia has created some uncertainty, thanks to its foresight, Star Energy has positioned itself for long-term growth.

“The good thing is we have some of the best-proven reserves in Indonesia and when conditions improve we will be ready to expand our operations,” Mr. Suparman affirms. “Currently we have Unit 1 producing 110MW, Unit 2 producing 117MW and we are planning to build Unit 3 which will generate 60MW. We anticipate that a fourth unit could be developed for a further 60MW.”

As Indonesia looks forward to a new era of political leadership, Star Energy has engaged with policymakers to continue developing the country’s energy assets.

“More than anything we want consistency from government,” Mr. Suparman emphasizes. “Every new piece of legislation comes with positives and negatives. The implementation will be the real test, but we are happy so far because there has been good consultation with all the stakeholders. Geothermal energy is logical for Indonesia because in the future we cannot afford to rely on fossil fuels.

“But to get the investment levels required to promote change to renewable energies, there needs to be strong political will.”