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Indonesia Removes Pertamina Chief After Oil Spill, Other Issues

Source: Reuters 4/20/2018, Location: Asia

Indonesia's State Owned Enterprise Ministry has removed Pertamina Chief Executive Elia Massa Manik in a management shakeup after a series of problems at the state-owned energy company, including a recent oil spill and slow progress on refinery developments, a ministry official said on Friday.

Nicke Widyawati, Pertamina's director of human resources, will serve as acting chief executive until a formal replacement is nominated, Deputy State Owned Enterprise Ministry Fajar Harry Sampurno told reporters at a press conference.

Manik was among five Pertamina directors replaced in the leadership shakeup.

Another shareholder meeting next week will likely result in further management changes at gas utility Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), which Pertamina took over last week, Sampurno added.

"With recent developments including the accident with the pipe in Balikpapan and fuel shortages, the commissioners conducted a very comprehensive study of implementation over the past month," Sampurno said, referring to the leadership changes.

"With these new directors, it will accelerate the refinery projects in the refinery development master plan," he added.

The decisions, made in consultation with Pertamina's board of commissioners, would "strengthen and accelerate implementation" of Pertamina's transition to an energy holding company, Sampurno said.

Pertamina now has directors of corporate marketing, retail marketing and infrastructure, Chairman Tanri Abeng said.

Pertamina recently faced criticism over its handling of the 40,000-barrel oil spill near its refinery operations on Borneo island, and for failing to meet government mandates on fuel sales.

Indonesia, one of Southeast Asia's biggest fuel importers, hopes to reduce its import bill by improving its ageing domestic refining infrastructure, but some projects have been delayed because of financing issues.

Pertamina's finances have been hurt in recent years due to government-controlled gasoline and diesel prices that have been held below market levels.

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