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Boosting Indonesia’s energy supply

Release date:
19 October 2023
Providing vital additional energy for Indonesia, the start-up of bp’s Tangguh Expansion Project is a big deal for the nation, the region and bp 
🕒 5 min read | 📖 Feature| 💡 Why it matters
bp’s wider transformation is under way. While we’re mostly in oil & gas today, we’ve increased global investment into our lower carbon businesses, convenience stores and power trading from around 3% in 2019 to around 23% in 2023.

It takes two flights and a boat ride to reach the remote Tangguh site from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. It is a long, 12-hour journey door to door, but it’s an incredibly important one for a country that is growing fast and looking to play its important role in the energy transition. 


Why? Because the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant operated by bp in this remote corner of West Papua is already producing a good 20% of Indonesia’s natural gas – and that just got bigger with the start-up of the Tangguh Expansion Project that includes a new production unit known as Train 3. The expansion will ultimately increase the facility’s total LNG production by approximately 50% to 11.4 million tonnes a year.


“It’s been a huge, six-and-a-half-year project involving more than 13,500 workers,” Matt Kirkham, VP for projects in the Asia Pacific region, says. 


Once the expansion project is fully operational, about 35% of Indonesia’s gas production is expected to come from Tangguh. Natural gas will play an important role in the country’s energy mix on its net zero transition journey by 2060. Tangguh also has long-term customers in Japan, China and South Korea.


In the works since the final investment decision in 2016, the Tangguh Expansion Project was no minor feat. It included the construction of two offshore platforms, 13 new production wells, an expanded LNG loading facility, and supporting infrastructure. 


“The whole team has done an amazing job getting us to where we are today through their passion, expertise and resilience. It means a lot to everyone that this facility plays such a large part in meeting Indonesia’s energy needs,” says Matt.

Energy efficiency

Train 3 continues to build on the work bp has done throughout the greater Tangguh site to make Tangguh’s operations as efficient as practical. 


“We aim to make sure that every megawatt of power is put to good use at Tangguh,” says Sherif Mourad, the lead carbon advisor for the site. “It means we can make LNG with the gas that would otherwise have been used for operating the plant.” 


There is a strong culture of continuous improvement at Tangguh, along with some noteworthy methods to help keep energy use to a minimum.


“We aim to make sure that every megawatt is put to good use at Tangguh.” 


Sherif Mourad, lead carbon advisor at Tangguh

“Temperatures in the region average around 30 degrees Celsius year-round, but inside the facility a cool mist is generated by the plant, making it feel more like Scotland on a rainy day,” explains Dave Campbell, VP of production for Asia Pacific. “That mist is one of the many ways that we’ve optimized the plant energy efficiency, increasing what can be produced before it’s shipped to customers throughout Indonesia and abroad.” 


Meanwhile, the plant is powered by steam turbine generators with a steam heat recovery system that captures and reuses any steam that would otherwise be lost. That system alone helped to save around 86,000 tonnes of CO2e in 2022 – the equivalent of taking more than 50,500 UK petrol cars off the road for a whole year1.


Over the past 10 years, teams at Tangguh have worked to reduce flaring, often done to release excess gas during production for safety reasons, by 86%. That’s also resulted in significant emissions reductions.


“The effort of emissions-reduction is a never-ending story, from identifying the source of flaring gases and repairing them quickly, to optimizing the start-ups and shutdowns of Trains 1 and 2 to reduce routine flaring overall,” says Ryan Mefiardhi, the reliability discipline lead at Tangguh. “Maintaining reliable plant operations – identifying vulnerabilities and fixing any issues before they become a problem – means we don’t have to take gas out of the system to fix equipment as often, resulting in less flaring and, therefore, fewer operational emissions.”

Long-term commitment


The Government of Indonesia has granted a 20-year extension of the Tangguh production sharing contract to bp. Originally due to expire in 2035, the contract will now be extended to 2055.


“This extension reflects bp’s long-term commitment to Indonesia. It will allow us to continue to build on the great work that our Indonesia team has been doing – with our partners and the strong support of the Government – to deliver much-needed natural gas safely and reliably from Tangguh to Indonesia and other markets,” says Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, bp executive vice president, gas & low carbon energy.

Next step for reducing emissions: CCUS 

Keeping energy use down and efficiency up is only part of the strategy for lowering CO2 operational emissions at Tangguh, which, in turn, will help both bp and Indonesia to achieve their net zero ambitions.


bp and our partners are now preparing for the next development at Tangguh. Known as Project UCC, it is a plan for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), enhanced gas recovery, and onshore compression. The project – which is subject to receiving final investment decision – would extend the gas feed from the offshore field to Tangguh’s LNG operations onshore, while the CCUS would significantly reduce Tangguh’s operational emissions and the LNG’s lifecycle carbon intensity.


The captured CO2 would be injected into an underground reservoir, where it can be safely stored. The increased pressure underground would also help to increase gas recovery for additional LNG production.


“We are always looking for ways to adopt new technology and innovate for new technology applications to add value to bp and Indonesia.”


Dan Sparks, VP of subsurface for the Asia Pacific region


The planned CCUS project expects to capture 30 million tonnes of CO2 over the life of the field2. Its completion would represent a significant stride towards net zero operational emissions for both Tangguh and bp, and it could make Tangguh one of the lowest-carbon intensity LNG facilities in the world.


“With LNG now flowing from Train 3, we are very excited to progress the UCC project, which could help to lower operational emissions at Tangguh,” says Matt.

💡 Why it matters


Tangguh is one more example of how we are investing in today’s energy system, which is mainly oil and gas, while we’re also investing in our transition growth engines.


Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest developing countries, with one of the largest populations. It is also heading towards a target to reduce its carbon emissions, making natural gas a critical fuel for the country as coal power is phased out3.


The increased production of LNG from Tangguh’s Train 3 will play an important role in supporting Indonesia’s growing energy demand. Once the expansion project is fully operational, it is expected to provide around 35% of the country’s total gas production.


The addition of the UCC project would, when operational, contribute toward our Aim 1 objective to be net zero across our entire operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.  

1Average UK car emissions per km = 170g of CO2 = 0.17kg (source: Our World Data)
Average mileage of a UK car in 2022 = 6,600 miles wwe(~10,000km) (source: Gov.uk)
10,000km x .17 = 1,700kg per car per year (1.7 tonnes)
86,000 tonnes ÷ 1.7 = taking >50,500 cars off the road for one year
2bp press release
3United Nations Development Programme

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