Natuna talks break down

NEGOTIATIONS between oil giant ExxonMobil and the Indonesian Government over the disputed Natuna offshore gas field have broken down, possibly paving the way for another company to take up its development.
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Kardaya Warnika, the chairman of Indonesian upstream oil and gas regulator BP Migas and head of Indonesia's negotiating team, said negotiations stalled after both parties failed to come up with a deal during a series of meetings.

"There are no other items that can be agreed upon. So there won't be any further negotiations," the Jakarta Post quoted him as saying.

Negotiations on the contract extension started after the Government claimed ExxonMobil's rights had been terminated in 2005, as the company had failed to show any progress in developing the field.

However, ExxonMobil denied the claim, saying it had already spent around $US400 million on exploring the field, which eventually gave it the right to an extension until 2009.

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