LONDON: Indonesia has made an official request to rejoin Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil producing cartel announced on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
The OPEC welcomed the move after Indonesia made its intentions public in June.
Resource-rich Indonesia, southeast Asia’s largest economy, was part of OPEC for almost 50 years until suspending its membership in 2009 after becoming a net oil importer.
Its return is seen as a way for Indonesia to access cheaper oil supplies as demand soars amid falling domestic production.
“Indonesia has submitted an official request to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reactivate its full membership in the Organization,” Vienna-based OPEC said in a statement Tuesday.
OPEC said that Energy Minister Sudirman Said would be invited to attend the cartel’s next regular meeting on December 4 in the Austrian capital that “will include the formalities of reactivating Indonesia’s membership.”
The statement added: “Indonesia has contributed much to OPEC’s history. We welcome its return to the Organization.”
The OPEC statute states that “any country with a substantial net export of crude petroleum” can become a full member.
But it also says associate membership is possible for countries who do no qualify as full members, the course Indonesia is likely to pursue, analysts say.
OPEC has meanwhile welcomed Indonesia’s request, as a return broadens the cartel’s geopolitical base to include Asia at a time when the cartel is facing pressure over sliding oil prices, observers have added.
OPEC’s 12 member nations from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, pump out about one third of the world’s oil.
But over the past year its members, including kingpin Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria have seen their incomes tumble as ample global crude supplies caused oil prices to crash by more than 50 percent in value.