The government is currently looking for the right location to develop the Masela Block project. There are a number of potential sites for the construction of the gas refinery and other supporting facilities for the megaproject.
Head of the Special Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business Activities (SKK Migas) Amien Sunaryadi explained that there are seven islands that are eligible to host the onshore plant of the Masela Block. Two, the Selaru and Yamdena islands, are located in Maluku Tenggara Barat District, and the other two, the Babar and Masela islands, are located in Maluku Barat Daya District.
Another option is Aru Island in Kepulauan Aru District. "There are also another two small islands," said Amien after a working meeting with the House’s Commission VII in Jakarta, Tuesday (21/6). (Read: SKK Migas Chief: Rizal Ramli Unauthorised to Decide on Masela Block)
Amien said several criteria must be met to develop the Masela Block using an onshore scheme. First, at least 600 hectares of land is required for the onshore refinery. Second, from the technical aspect, the land must be free from seasonal wind cycles, such as the West and East monsoons, which may disrupt the plant’s operational activities.
"From the technical aspect we must consider which one is feasible. So if an island (is affected) by the West Monsoon, the port must be located in the east. If it’s the East Monsoon, the port must be located in the west,” he said.
Third, in determining the most suitable site for the development of the Masela Block, the social aspect needs to be taken into account. That means listening from local governments in Maluku, because they can offer input on the most appropriate location. (Read: SKK Migas: Regents Should Not Compete Over Masela’s Plant Site)
Earlier, the agency’s Head of Public Relations Taslim Z. Yunus said that there are two districts in Maluku competing to be the site of the Masela Block development: Maluku Barat Daya and Maluku Tenggara Barat. Meanwhile, to prevent land speculation, the Church has advised not selling local land.
Meanwhile, SKK Migas is still evaluating the incentives proposed by the block’s operator Inpex Corporation. The company’s spokesperson Usman Slamet confirmed this. ”We’re still discussing it with the government," he told Katadata a couple days ago.
Energy Minister Sudirman Said said that one of the incentives requested by the company is contract extension to ensure that the return on investment of the block matches its economic value. (Read: Inpex Proposed 3 Requests for Masela Block to Carry out Widodo’s Decisions)
Sudirman, however, has yet to decide whether to grant these requests because he must consult with the President before making a decision. "The matter is in the hands of the president now," he said.