History of the Giant Attaka Oilfield

Pres. Soeharto di Santan

Fifty years ago, Union Oil of California (UNOCAL) along with its partner, INPEX, discovered the giant offshore oil field Attaka in East Kalimantan.

General Soeharto, the president of Indonesia at that time, then inaugurated the Attaka field and the Santan terminal on 22 January 1973.

In the early days of Attaka and the Santan terminal, there were many workers from the US and UK. Over time, they were gradually replaced by Indonesian workers.

Unocal operated the oil field for 25 years from its East Kalimantan headquarters located in Balikpapan. The Attaka field was subsequently acquired and operated by Chevron, and then by Pertamina Hulu Kalimantan Timur beginning on 25 October 2018.

At 50 years old, the field is still producing today.

Thousands of oil people – expatriates from many nations and Indonesians from every region – have visited and worked in the offshore facilities and the onshore Santan terminal including me.

I worked in the Attaka field as “Production Foreman” in 1980. I hope you like this snippet of the history of Attaka and the Santan terminal.

If you like to read more about the Attaka field here is The Ten Interesting Facts About Attaka.

WRITTEN BY

Jamin Djuang – Chief Learning Officer of LDI Training and author of The Story of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas Are Explored, Drilled and Produced

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