Indonesia says wants OPEC to lift output further

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JAKARTA, Nov 20 (Reuters) Indonesia wants the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise oil output further, energy minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on Tuesday, appearing to break ranks with other members of the producer group.

Western consumer nations feeling the pinch from high prices have put pressure on the group to pump more oil. But most OPEC nations have been saying there is little it can do to help as factors beyond its control are driving the market.

''We will be happy if OPEC can increase its production further to affect the world oil price,'' Purnomo told reporters.

''We want the Indonesian oil price at the level of between -65 a barrel,'' he added.

Indonesia's benchmark Minas crude traded at .31 a barrel in October, up from .85 in September, while global benchmark U.S. light crude is hovering at a barrel.

Indonesia's ageing wells and lack of investment in the energy sector have pushed the country to become a net crude oil importer, although it is still a net energy exporter, thanks to a huge supply of natural gas and coal.

Rising global oil prices have caused Indonesia's fuel subsidy bill to balloon, with officials warning it could hit 90 trillion rupiah (.65 billion) this year if prices reached 0 a barrel.

Jakarta increased fuel prices sharply in October 2005 to cut crippling energy subsidies, but they are still among the cheapest in the world.

Price increases are a sensitive issue in Indonesia, OPEC's second-smallest producer and Asia-Pacific's only member.

In May 1998, a big rise in fuel prices triggered rioting that helped topple former President Suharto.

The government had allocated around 56 trillion rupiah in the 2007 budget for the fuel subsidies assuming an average oil price of a barrel.

REUTERS BJR RAI1120

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