JAKARTA, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Indonesia is now producing natural gas from a deep-water site that represents a milestone for the country's energy goals, a Chevron subsidiary said.
Chevron Indonesia Co. said it started natural gas production from the deepwater Bangka field, a project that has a design capacity of around 110 million cubic feet per day. The start of production comes roughly two years after drilling began.
"First gas for the Bangka Project is a significant milestone and highlights Chevron's commitment to continue supporting the government's energy goals and delivering energy to Indonesia safely, efficiently and reliably," Chuck Taylor, Chevron's regional managing director, said in a statement.
Italian energy company Eni, one of Chevron's partners in the country, signed last year what it said was a groundbreaking deal to sell liquefied natural gas from a separate deepwater Indonesian field. The country exports about half its natural gas and is one of the largest exporters of liquefied natural gas in the world.
Southeast Asian energy demand is expected to soar by more than 80 percent through 2035.
Natural gas production in Indonesia increased by more than 20 percent in the decade ending in 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. An annual country profile from PricewaterhouseCoopers, however, found that since Indonesia started to steer its gas reserves toward the domestic market in 2006, it dropped from the top LNG exporter to the No. 5 spot, behind Qatar, Malaysia, Australia and Nigeria.
Indonesia last year became a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, though oil production has been waning and the country's focus has largely been on natural gas.