"They have committed to invest US$12 billion in the development of gas fields in the Makassar Strait," he remarked after receiving Melody Meyer, president of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration & Production Company.

He noted that the field was expected to produce one thousand MMSCFD per day and boost the nations economy.

"Indeed, there are still several hurdles in its development. We plan to cut licensing procedures and lower uncertainties. It all drills down to management and processes, which must be right and devoid of any uncertainty," he explained.

He stated that the area is estimated to have a gas reserve of 2.3 trillion cubic feet (MMSCFD) and five gas fields such as Bangka, Gehem, Gendao, Maha, and Gandang have already been developed.

Hatta added that he has also requested Chevron Pacific Indonesia to maintain its oil production in the Minas and Duri fields in Riau, so that it will not stop using the pilot project surfactant flooding technology.

"Our oil production continues to drop and in the recent past, targets have not been achieved. In view of that, I have requested Chevron, the largest producer of crude oil, to boost production or at least control the natural decline in the production rate," he claimed.

Hatta noted that 2014 poses a major challenge for the oil/gas sector with regard to maintaining energy production while oil/gas consumption continues to increase due to the growth in the automotive and industrial sectors.

"The consumption of subsidized and non-subsidized gasoline will increase by eight percent while production is expected to drop as refinery development is slow. To prevent oil/gas account deficit we must strive to use bio-diesel in 2014," he added. (*)