Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said US oil giant ExxonMobil plans to invest up to $15bn in a petrochemical project and carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in the country, according to a palace statement today (16 November).

During a trip to San Francisco for the Asia Pacific Economic (APEC) Summit, Jokowi, as Mr Widodo is commonly known, met with Exxon chairman Darren Woods to discuss the construction of what would be the largest CCS facilities in Southeast Asia.

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“I am pleased to say that the CCS facility will be the largest in Southeast Asia, and ExxonMobil’s petrochemical complex will be one of the most advanced in the world,” Jokowi said.

In addition, according to Reuters, Exxon and Pertamina, Indonesia’s state energy company, will evaluate investing $2bn in CCS facilities using two underground basins in the Java Sea. Pertamina stated the future CCS hub could store at least three gigatons of carbon dioxide emitted in Indonesia and the rest of the region.

In a separate meeting with his American counterpart Joe Biden, the two leaders signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to boost economic collaboration between Indonesia and the US. Washington and Jakarta promised to continue with their efforts to combat climate change, which is taking a toll on Indonesia’s coastline.

“President Biden reiterated his commitment to partnering with Indonesia tackling the climate crisis and ensuring the United States and Indonesia are at the forefront of harnessing the clean energy transition,” a White House press statement read. “Indonesia and the United States will continue to closely collaborate on the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), announced at the 2022 G20 Summit in Bali, which will reduce emissions and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in Indonesia.” 

JETP allocates $20bn in public and private funds to support Indonesia’s climate commitments.

Several American companies are looking to set up new supply chains in Southeast Asia, Indonesia included, as tensions between the US and China remain high. 

On Wednesday (15 November), Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco in a highly-anticipated summit between the two leaders. For Biden, this was his second meeting with Xi since he came to the White House in 2021. 

Following long discussions concerning a possible conflict over Taiwan, Biden and Xi have agreed to resume military communications, which were shut in August 2022 after then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

Carole Gall, president of Exxon Mobil Indonesia, welcomed the plans to invest in Indonesia, saying: “These large-scale opportunities could substantially boost industrial growth and decarbonisation in Indonesia, as well as the Asia Pacific region.”