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INTERVIEW – Terra Energy Country Manager: Acceptance of new technology, key to boost explorations

George Barber

JAKARTA (RambuEnergy) – For some, Indonesia’s oil and gas industry is in sunset stage, but for the optimistic ones, Indonesia still has bright prospect given that there are tens of basins that are yet to be explored. Therefore, boosting the exploration activities in order to discover new reserves is crucial in order to increase the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Unfortunately, investment in exploration activities appeared to be declining partly due to riskier nature of such activities. In general, only 20% of the exploration activities have a good chance of success and 80% has the potentiality to fail or hitting the dryhole. In addition, explorations could require huge costs, especially if it is done in offshore.

Given this background, RambuEnergy conducted an interview with George Barber, Country Manager of Terra Energy & Resoures Technologies (TERT), Inc.

Terra Energy & Resource is a publicly held exploration services company which helps companies in reducing geological risk when searching for natural resources. Its technologies have been deployed across the globe (US, Russia, Kuwait, Indonesia, Niger, Chile, Korea, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Mauritania, Argentina, Cambodia, etc.). They address some of the most challenging issues facing modern exploration and are applicable to oil, gas, geothermal, gold, copper, uranium, diamonds, rubies, water etc. on and offshore.

Following is the excerpt of an interview with George Barber.

How do see the potentials of Indonesia’s natural resources in particular oil and gas going forward?

The country has what is believed to be an abundance of natural resources which includes oil, gas, geothermal and various minerals, although unlike human resources which can be seen and counted, the natural resources are extremely difficult to find, therefore when most people state that Indonesia is rich in resources, this is a statement only, it has not been proven.

So, exploration is essential right?

The exploration and exploitation of the natural resources has been going on a very long time, the first oil to be discovered was in 1883 where it is probably fair to say that this was easy oil, over the years the easy oil has been exploited, explorers went further afield where they had to use different methods of exploration, such as seismic which was accepted into the industry in the 1960s.

It is fair to say that when something new comes along, the phase of exploration changes, it then becomes easier as the new equipment is able to detect resources that were unable to be detected by the conventional methods at that time.

Is there any conventional ways to carry out explorations?

For the past sixty years, the main choice of weapon to discover oil and gas has been seismic, but seismic has limitations, it is ineffective in areas that are volcanic, indeed eighty percent of Indonesia is unexplorable by today’s conventional methods and of course the easier oil has been discovered.

Today’s exploration methods are extremely expensive, they are also very high risk, the worlds average success rate is twenty percent, this is an eighty percent lose, investors do not like to lose money, therefore investment in exploration by Indonesian banks and entrepreneurs is not happening.

Exploration is expensive. What is the solution given the current subdued oil and gas industry?

Technology is the answer, technology that has been tried and tested in over twenty countries with over two hundred projects where a success rate of seventy-nine percent of what goes into production has been achieved.


Indonesia is a unique country in its people, its landscape and its customs, but it is not unique in its geology, every country has geology, an Indonesian geologist can go and work in different countries, it’s not a problem, geology knows no borders, technology that works in other countries will and does work in Indonesia, which makes the whole of Indonesia is explorable, onshore and offshore.

But why applying new technology is limited?

Indonesia does not need to import sixty percent of its daily requirement of oil, it has an abundance of resources, although it is not clear where they are exactly, exploration is expensive and high risk, but with technology that has been developed over the past thirty-five years the location of these resources will be known, the cost, time and risk is considerably reduced, which will attract local investment.

Technology is not the problem, the acceptance of technology is the problem, self-interest is another problem which is holding back the development of Indonesia in so many areas.

If only the technology was a “Smart Phone Application”, it would be accepted with no questions asked. (*)




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