JAKARTA - Former mines and energy minister Sudirman Said, known for following the advice of oil and gas experts around him, may be forgiven for feeling vindicated following the collapse of Indonesia’s US$20 billion Masela natural gas project in the remote Arafua Sea. 

Upstream regulator SSKMigas and senior government sources have confirmed an earlier Asia Times report that the foreign-invested project is now at a standstill and will be for the foreseeable future.

Well-meaning or not, industry analysts put the blame on President Joko Widodo’s decision four years ago to switch from a widely-preferred offshore liquified natural gas (LNG) operation to an onshore plant instead.