Oil companies had immense roles in the geothermal development in Indonesia. They were the ones who kickstarted the geothermal industry in the country from 1970-2010.
Without their efforts and perseverance, Indonesia would probably not be the second-largest geothermal energy producer in the world after the USA today.
Here are the oil companies that played key roles in the early development of geothermal projects in Indonesia.
- Pertamina with the cooperation of New Zealand completed the first Kamojang power station in 1982.
- Amoseas, a joint venture of Chevron and Texaco, completed the first Darajat power station in 1994.
- Unocal completed the first Salak power station in 1997.
- Unocal started drilling deep geothermal wells in Sarulla in North Sumatra in 1993 and discovered the huge geothermal potential in the area. Unocal did not complete the project, however, due to the Asian financial crisis in 1997. The project was later taken over by Sarulla Operation Limited which finally completed the huge 330 MW Sarulla power plant in 2016.
- Chevron took over operations and expansion of the Darajat and Salak power plants from Amoseas and Unocal years later. Chevron eventually sold the two projects to Star Energy.
The early rise of geothermal energy production in Indonesia is indeed due to the contribution of the oil companies that were operating in Indonesia.
The geothermal development in Indonesia is one of the collateral benefits that the country received when it massively opened up opportunities for international oil companies to explore and produce its oil and gas resources in the late 1960s when the production sharing contract scheme was introduced.
Anthony Menzies shared his comment that as in Indonesia, in the US, the geothermal industry was also pioneered by oil and gas companies, Phillips, Shell, Unocal, Chevron, etc. and they utilized their expertise in drilling, R&D, reservoir engineering and production to develop their geothermal assets and minimize development costs.
The photo above shows the 377 MW Salak geothermal plant built by Unocal – The biggest geothermal plant in Indonesia and one of the largest in the world. It is now operated by Star Energy.
This article is written by Jamin Djuang – Chief Learning Officer of LDI Training. LDI Training provides geothermal reservoir engineering taught by Dr. Roland N. Horne.