Workers’ protests interrupt crude oil supply
State-run oil and gas firm PT Pertamina revealed that crude oil supply for the Balongan refinery in West Java was cut by around 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to a demonstration by hundreds of workers at the refinery who demanded the company scrap its outsourcing scheme.
The production of nearby wells like Cemara and Cilamaya, operated by Pertamina EP, had to be reduced to minimize the negative impacts of the demonstration, said Ali Mundakir, Pertamina’s newly appointed vice president for corporate communication.
However, he assured that the fuel production and output of the Balongan refinery, which is capable of processing 125,000 bpd of crude oil, were both still normal.
Ali expected the police to help Pertamina handle the security matters. “Balongan is the main vein of Java’s economy, particularly West Java. Therefore we hope the police can help us to secure the demonstration,” Ali said at his office on Friday.
Hundreds of contractors working for Pertamina under the outsourcing scheme have also blocked the northern coastal highway (Pantura) in Indramayu, exactly in front of Pertamina EP Java Region’s office, to demand equal rights as permanent staff.
In January, the Constitutional Court (MK) ruled that contract workers deserved treatment equal to that expected by permanent employees. “On Monday, we’ll meet with representatives of the workers,” Ali reported.
He said Pertamina was still waiting for technical guidance as a follow-up to the MK’s ruling, but would comply with all prevailing regulations.
The company would experience huge losses if workers did not go back to work immediately, Ali said.
Nationwide, people should not worry about the security of the fuel supply, Pertamina sales and marketing director Hanung Budya Yuktyanta said. “There’s no disturbance in fuel supply. The reserves in our depots in Padalarang, Cikampek and other locations in Java are secure,” he explained.
Hanung expected the police to be more firm in watching over the demonstrators so that they would not destroy important infrastructure.
“The Balongan refinery is one of the country’s vital objects. If something happens, not only Pertamina will feel the impacts, but also all citizens in this country,” Hanung claimed.
Pertamina currently operates six refineries with a combined capacity of 1.03 million bpd, but which produce only 677,000 bpd of fuel products.
The refineries are located in Dumai, Riau, with a capacity of 170,000 bpd; Plaju, South Sumatra (118,000 bpd); Cilacap, Central Java (348,000 bpd); Balikpapan, East Kalimantan (260,000 bpd); Balongan, West Java (125,000 bpd); and Kasim, West Papua (10,000 bpd).
— JP/Rangga D. Fadillah