Indonesia approves $12.1 bn BP gas deal

The Indonesian subsidiary of British oil giant BP on Monday said a $12.1-billion deal to expand its liquid natural gas operations in the country had been given final approval.

The deal, announced last month during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's state visit to London, will allow BP to develop a third liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction train at its Tangguh project in West Papua province, according to a statement from BP Indonesia.

"The plan of development for a third LNG train at Tangguh has now been fully approved," BP's Asia-Pacific regional president William Lin said in a statement.

"This is an important milestone towards realising this significant development, and we appreciate the government granting full approval," he added.

BP is one of Indonesia's largest foreign investors and holds a 37.16 percent stake in the Tangguh plant, which began operations in mid-2009.

Indonesian Papua, in the eastern part of the archipelago, is rich in resources, drawing big investments from foreign firms.

But the local population, which is mostly ethnic Melanesian, is claiming a bigger share of the profit, which has led to a low-level insurgency by separatist groups.

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