Suwito Anggoro: At the Helm of Indonesia’s Largest Oil Producer

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He is soft-spoken and exudes a calm demeanor. Few know that he is the head of PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), the largest oil producer in Indonesia. He is also deputy managing director of Chevron IndoAsia Business Unit (IBU) and Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration & Production Company.   

Suwito Anggoro, an electrical engineering graduate of Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 1979, has been working in the oil company for 28 years. When asked about his own dreams, he said he was not ambitious, adding that as he heads toward retirement he has enjoyed virtually everything.

“What’s important is that I work to the best of my ability in the task entrusted to me by the shareholders and the stakeholders,” said Suwito, who was born in Malang, East Java, 54 years ago.   

As Chevron is one of the largest energy companies in the world, Suwito would like to make the company, which operates in 180 countries to be a preferred supplier in Indonesia through its professionalism. In leading CPI (and IBU), Suwito does not prioritize results but professionalism to achieve results.”We have a value that we call The Chevron Way. We have as our vision the aim to be a world-class energy company that wins admiration thanks to our employees, partnership and performance,” said Suwito.  

For Suwito, a father of four, losing a bid is not a problem if everything has been done professionally. In CPI, formerly called Caltex Pacific Indonesia, professionalism is a special value. As the largest producer of oil in the country with operations concentrated in Riau, the government now relies on it to fulfill the domestic oil production target set at US$1.034 million barrels per day in 2008.”We always evaluate one block seriously,” he said.   

The history of CPI in Indonesia began in early 1924. Standard Oil Company of California (Socal) and Texas Oil Company (Texaco) set up a joint venture company in Sumatra under the name N.V. Nederlandsche Pacific Petroleum Maatschappij or NPPM. This company discovered a non-productive oil well, which was finally closed. In 1944, NPPM geologists, Richard H. Hopper and Toru Oki discovered the largest oil well in Southeast Asia, Minas. This well was originally called Minas No. 1. Minas is noted for its Sumatra Light Crude (SLC), good crude oil with a low sulfur content.   

In the early 1950s, NPPM changed its name to Caltex Pacific Oil Company (CPOC) and began to export oil from Minas, through Perawang. New oil wells, meanwhile, were discovered in Duri, Bengkalis and Petapahan. Then in the early 1960s the company changed its name to Caltex Pacific Company (CPC).   

In line with the discovery of more oil wells in the operational areas of Caltex, a map of these areas was made. The map of these operational areas is called Kangaroo Block as it is like a kangaroo in shape. Outside the Kangaroo Block, Caltex (which in 1970s changed its name yet again to PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia) at that time also operated in the Coastal Plains Pekanbaru Block (CPP Block) and Mount Front Kuantan Block (MFK Block).   

In 1980, CPI made a breakthrough that boosted its oil production from its Duri oil well. This year saw the construction of the world’s largest Steam Injection System project, namely Duri Steam Flood, which President Soeharto inaugurated in the mid 1980s.   

In 2005, Caltex, as a subsidiary of Chevron and Texaco Inc., was acquired by Chevron along with Texaco and Unocal. So, the name Caltex Pacific Indonesia became Chevron Pacific Indonesia, a company now controlling its chief operational region in Riau Province (Sumatra) with four core areas: Rumbai (administrative), Minas (exploration), Duri (exploration) and Dumai (shipping).   

It is indeed not easy to lead an oil company employing some 6,000 people (90 of whom are expatriates). For Suwito, who earned his Master of Science Power System Engineering from Union College, Schenectady, New York (1985) and a degree in International Business Management, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (2000), professionalism is very important in a high-risk business like the oil business. “The oil business is high-risk and requires well thought out calculations,” he said.   

The oil business, which extracts and processes fossil energy, is considered a highly profitable business, particularly at present. The rising price of oil gives the impression that oil companies in Indonesia enjoy huge profits. “People rarely think that this business is a high-risk one,” Suwito said.   

To develop Indonesia’s fossil fuel potential and lure investors, Suwito said, there are still many things that the government must do. “Aside from clear rules in the contract, the contract itself must be honored so that it will not be subject to rules outside the contract,” said Suwito, who is also a fan of martial arts books by SH Mintarja.   

When he retires he plans to share his experiences with many people. “Perhaps I will be a business consultant or a lecturer,” said Suwito, who is also an admirer of the late Ali Sadikin, former governor of Jakarta and Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia. (Burhan Abe)   

The Jakarta Post, June 02, 2008

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