New minister urged to be courageous against oil and gas mafia

An energy expert from Indonesia Mining and Energy Studies (IMES), Erwin Usman, said Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said must prove he is able to fight the oil and gas mafia and to establish energy independence through the renegotiation of work contracts issued to foreign oil and gas companies operating in the country.

“What is most crucial is to show his courage in dealing with the oil and gas mafia, as well as foreign oil and gas companies, such as Freeport, Newmont, Chevron, ExxonMobile and Total, which have firmly held onto oil and gas exploration activities in Indonesia for dozens of years,” he said, as quoted by Antara news agency in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Erwin said it was unlikely that Sudirman would have the bravery to fight the oil and gas mafia with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s political promises because the minister had once been part of the bureaucratic power in state oil and gas company PT Pertamina.

He went on to say that up until now, Sudirman had never clarified his critical thoughts and opinions on what he would do as minister to safeguard Indonesia’s energy independence and to fight the domination of foreign oil and gas companies in the country.

Apart from defeating the oil and gas mafia, other strategic tasks that needed to be immediately resolved were cleaning the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s bureaucracy of corrupt practices and tackling the subsidized fuel and energy crisis.

“Another crucial task is to complete the renegotiation of work contracts and coal mining licenses, in which we’ve seen such huge domination by foreign capital,” said Erwin.

Sudirman was serving as president director in state weapon maker PT Pindad when he was appointed minister.

Earlier, he served as deputy president director in publicly listed mining company PT Petrosea Tbk, group chief of human capital and corporate services in energy solution provider PT Indika Energy Tbk, and Petrosea human capital director during 2009-2010.

Sudirman has previously been involved in Pertamina’s transformation, such as improving the function of corporate secretary in 2008 and supply chain management in 2008-2009.

Sudirman earned his MBA degree, with a major in human resource management and organizational development, from George Washington University in the US. (ebf)(+++)


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