Japanese-Chartered Tanker Is Free To Leave

Thursday, March 15, 2001
The Indonesian Supreme Court has ruled that a Japanese-charted oil tanker, held up by a local dispute, can leave the country but when was unclear, an official with the oil company involved said. The incident, involving a tanker chartered by trading house Mitsubishi Corp., was caused by a dispute between PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia, Indonesia's biggest oil operator, and a local contractor. "Today, we received the decision from the Supreme Court saying that the content of the ship is owned by the state... therefore the order should be revoked," Caltex spokesman Poedyo Oetomo said. "That means the ship can sail. But the process may take time," he said. The El Phos had already been loaded with 154,000 barrels of Minas crude and 234,000 barrels of Duri crude, and was bound for use by a Japanese power company, industry source in Japan said. The tanker was stopped from leaving Riau on Saturday by a court ruling over the dispute between Caltex and a local contractor which supplies vehicles to the company. The precise nature of the dispute was unclear. The tanker incident follows major production disruptions at the PT Arun NGL plant in northern Sumatra's Aceh province after its top gas supplier ExxonMobil closed three fields late last week due to security concerns. Korean and Japanese utilities have both said they would seek alternative sources of liquefied natural gas (LNG) because of concerns over security of delivery. - (Reuters)

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