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Indonesia’s research vessel Geomarin III discovers gas potential in northern Bali

Geomarin III survey vessel (Image credit : ESDM)

JAKARTA ( – Research marine vessel owned by the Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry (ESDM) Geomarin III has discovered biogenic gas potential in the northern Bali Island basin. The vessel is operated by the Center of Research and Development of Marine Geology (P3GL) of the ministry.

The survey was conducted from April 26 until May 18, 2017. The vessel is equipped with 2D seismic equipment, namely gravity meter, geo-magnet and echo-sounder multibeam.

Geomarin III is Indonesia’s first advance seismic survey vessel which equipped with advance seismic equipment. The equipment can determine the model and dimension of the oil and gas basin, therefore improving the information about the petroleum system in the basin.

Apart from Northern Bali, there are ten other basins that are recommended to be surveyed by P3GL, namely Sibolga, Central Sumatera, South Sumatera, North West Java, Northeast Java, Barito, Kutai, Tarakan, Sengkang and Waipoga. The seven basins have been proven to contain biogenic gas and three basins in frontier areas.

The biogenic gas, the ministry said, is not the main target of the oil and gas exploration. Usually, biogenic gas is discovered unintentionally during the oil and gas exploration. The location of the biogenic gas is located at 500-1,000 measured depth, therefore, the cost for exploration and exploitation is relatively cheaper and deepwater.

Only 38% of the total 104% of trillion cubic feet (TCF) gas reserves in Indonesia contains biogenic gas.

Among gas fields that contain biogenic gas is Kepodang gas field, Muriah Block (Pati basin), around 70 km offshore Rembang, on Java Island. The field produces 354 MMSCFD of gas and delivered via 207 km of gas pipeline to the gas power plant (PLTGU) Tambak Lorok in Semarang, Central Java. The power plant has installed capacity of 1,000 MW and Kepodang gas generates 600 MW of capacity.

The biogenic gas and a number of wells that have produced in Northeast java share borders with Bali basin in Northern Bali. Terang-1 well shows indication of biogenic gas at Mundu Formation at the measured depth of 600-700 meters below seabed.

The Bali basin could be recommended as potential working area (WK) that can be offered to investors.

In addition, the Geomarin III vessel is preparing to conduct survey on the potentiality of Ocean Thermal Energy Conservation (OTEC) in Northern Bali. OTEC utilizes changing of seawater temperature to generate power.

The potentiality of OTEC in Indonesia could be the largest in the world, spreading in western coast of Sumatera, Southern Java, Sulawesi, North Maluku and Bali. P3GL has reviewed and studied the OTEC potentiality in 17 locations, with estimated capacity to generate power of 41 GW.

Key Facts of Geomarin III vessel

Geomarin III was launched on Aug. 5, 2009 by the former energy minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro. The vessel was fabricated by state owned vessel producer PT PAL.

Following is the profile of Geomarin III:

  • Length: 61.70 meters
  • Gross Register Tonnage: 1300 GT,
  • Machine: 2 x 1,000 HP
  • Fuel Consumption: 4.8-9.3 tons per day or 6,040-11,600 liters
  • Maximum speed: 13.5 knots
  • Cruising speed: 12.5 knots
  • Survey speed : 4.0 knots
  • Sailing length: 30 days
  • Accommodating 22 crews and able to bring 29 scientists and technicians

All shallow waters of Indonesia have been surveyed and mapped, while 76 percent, which contained deepwater, has yet to be fully surveyed and mapped, according to the ministry.

Around 70% of oil and gas reserves in Indonesia is located in sea basins, and half of them are located in deepwater. (*)

Edited by Roffie Kurniawan (

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