Saturday, 17 August 2013

Kernel Oil a little known trading firm

Perhaps until recently, only those in the oil industry knew of PT Kernel Oil Pte Ltd (KOPL) Indonesia, but all that changed late on Tuesday when one of the company’s executives was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The arrests of Simon G. Tanjaya, an executive with KOPL, golf trainer Ardi and Rudi Rubiandini, head of the country’s energy regulator SKKMigas, has driven the media to find out more about the company, which is the local arm of the Singapore-based crude oil and products trader.

Simon, Ardi and Rudi were arrested for their alleged involvement in a bribery case.

“We will publish an official statement [in relation to the arrest]. Please be patient,” said Dini, a local officer of KOPL Indonesia, when contacted by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

As of late Wednesday, however, the company, headquartered at Equity Tower in Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD) in South Jakarta, had yet to give any statement in relation to the arrest of one of its executives.

KOPL Indonesia is a local arm of Kernel Oil, the portfolios of which include the trade in gasoline, crude oil and asphalt, around the world with other countries such as Australia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

Kernel Oil’s official website, which could not be accessed for several hours on Wednesday after the news of Rudi’s and Simon’s arrest, said the company “trades in a multitude of crude oil grades and products mainly from the Southeast Asia region.”

Founded in 2006, the company also said it provided “natural gas liquids, such as liquefied petroleum gases, ethane and petrochemical naphtha and condensate.”

According to SKKMigas commercial control deputy Widhyawan Prawiraatmadja, KOPL Indonesia was among more than 40 registered oil traders usually invited by the regulator in crude oil tenders every three months.

“The tender is performed for all of the crude oil that is not taken by [Indonesia’s state-owned energy firm] PT Pertamina,” he said in a separate interview.

Recently, he said, SKKMigas announced the latest tender for crude oil of around 200,000 to 400,000 barrels, which would be opened to bidders next Monday.

Kernel Oil, he said, would definitely be invited to bid just like every registered trader in the country. However, according to Widhyawan, Kernel Oil had yet to win any of the tenders implemented by SKKMigas this year.

Lukman Mahfoedz, chairman of the Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA), said Kernel Oil was not listed as one of its members.

“Members of the IPA have exact working areas,” he said.

An officer who answered the Post’s phone call to Kernel Oil’s Singapore office on Wednesday afternoon said while the firm knew of the arrest of its executive in Indonesia, the company could not comment on the matter.

“What happens in Jakarta concerns Indonesian law,” said the officer, who refused to reveal his name.

Singapore is home to many oil and gas traders in Southeast Asia. Petral, the trading arm of Pertamina, is also known to be based in Singapore.

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