Indonesian Pertamina targets cheaper Russian oil

Indonesia’s state-owned energy company Pertamina plans to buy crude from Russia as it seeks oil for a recently refurbished refinery, chief executive Nicke Widyawati said earlier this week, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a parliamentary hearing, she said, amid ongoing geopolitical tensions, Pertamina saw “an opportunity to buy from Russia at a good price”. She was referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Politically, there is no problem as long as the company we are dealing with has not been sanctioned. We also discussed the terms of payment, which could go through India,” she told members of parliament.

Indonesia holds the G20 presidency this year and has said it will remain neutral amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has sparked the biggest humanitarian and geopolitical crisis in Europe since World War II. The Indonesian government has raised concerns about the invasion, but refrained from condemning it.

Nicke said Pertamina is currently in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian central bank regarding the plan and has approached some Russian vendors to buy test crude from the Pertamina refinery.

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Felix J. Dixon