Saturday, April 28, 2012

Allegedly Lawmaker's Sex Video Politically Motivated?

It seems that some of Indonesian lawmakers never learn one thing: beware of what you record in your gadget. After legislator Yahya Zaini (Golkar), Max Moein (PDIP), and Arifinto (PKS), now young beautiful lawmaker Karolin Margret Natasa (PDIP) is said to be recorded in a hot video released at a website since last week.
Yahya Zaini was recorded together with a dangdut singer Eva Maria in 2006 and it costs his seat in parliament. Max Moein naked pictures with his secretary were circulating in internet and lead to his dismissal from the House of Representatives in 2008. Arifinto was caught watching pornographic video in a plenary session of the House by a photo journalist and although he denied that he intended to watch the video and argued that he only opened email attachment, he resigned from the parliament.
Now some have talk about politically motivated video circulation of Karolin playing sex with an activist - some people said he was Elya Muskitta. Her father is West Kalimantan Governor and in this year he will run for the second term. Some others talk about business motives since Karolin and Elya run business together. The case is still under investigation.
But such cases show a new development that technology can be used as a weapon in politics. It can ease our life, but like two sharp edges of the sword: it can also mean danger for your job!

Friday, April 27, 2012

State-Owned INTI to manufacture cheap tablet?

Yes, according to Indonesian site, PT. INTI will manufacture cheap 2G-wifi tablet. President Director Irfan Setiaputra told reporters that the (Indonesian) market demand is not on cheap ordinary mobile phones but rather on smartphones and tablets. It is reported that the chip will be powered by Marvell chip, a well-known prominent fabless design company although on the other hand he signalized also that INTI will work together with IMO, a Chinese manufacturer just as they did together in assembling 50,000 cheap mobile phones per month. I am not sure if IMO uses Marvell chip for this product.
INTI was founded in 1974 as State-Owned Telecommunication Product Manufacturer in city of Bandung, capital of West Java province, 140 km distance from capital Jakarta. In 2006 the company got net profit Rp. 8 billion, in 2007 it fell to one billion rupiah, and in 2008 it reported loss of some 40 billion rupiah. Irfan Setiaputra was "invited" by the then Minister for SOE Sofyan Djalil as part of professionals invited to turn around some ailing SOEs. He was Cisco Indonesia country manager. Soon after taking President Director position he and his team decided to concentrate on raising profits. In 2009 INTI again moved to profit by making two billion rupiah profit, followed by Rp. 4 billion rupiah profit in the next year, and in 2011 the profit skyrocketing to Rp. 10 billion.
Besides manufacturing, INTI is now system-solution based industry, focusing in telecomunnication and IT integration. Some of the projects are INTI Smart Exchange 3000, NMS (Network Management System), SLIMS (Subscriber Line Maintenance System), NGN server, VMS (Video Messaging System), GPA (SNMP-based), Interface Monitoring System for CDMA Network, Disaster Forecasting and Warning System, I-Perisalah, Kwh meter, and ISRA (Indonesia Surveilance Radar).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WiMAX Subscriber Station Made in Indonesia

Yesterday I visited the Microelectronic Research Center at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Indonesia. ITB is one of long-serving technical universities in Indonesia. It is founded in 1920 by the Dutch as Bandung Technische Hogeschool and refounded in 1959 by the Government of Indonesia as Institut Teknologi Bandung. Its Microelectronic Center has coined the idea about Bandung High-Tech Valley (BHTV), after Silicon Valley concept in California which connects Academia-Business-Government (ABG). In fact, many universities and technology enterprises are operating in Bandung and many talents both in hardware and software engineering can be found easily in Bandung.
Yesterday the head of the Center, Dr. Trio Adiono showed me a prototype of WiMAX 16d subscriber station. Not as many has predicted that any 16d SS is too big to be operational, it is relatively as small as normal modem. It is surprised me because it has been tested and operating from distance of 10 km with data streaming of 4 Mbps. I think once it can be produced in economical scale and the effective cost per unit is achieved, it will be a great success. By combining this and wifi - which also under research by the Center - it will be able to connect houses and offices in both rural and city areas.
The license of WiMAX in Indonesia is now released only for 16d by the Ministry of Communication and Information. There is no sign yet that the Ministry will offer also license for 16e nor LTE operation. The potential of (nomadic) WiMAX is actually very high actually, as 200 million inhabitants across archipelago are eager for fast yet cheap data communication.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shale Gas to fill Supply-Demand Gap in Indonesia

Picture source:

The Government of the United States is interested in developing shale gas in Indonesia. The Assistant Secretary at the US Energy Department, David Sandalow, emphasized that it needs longer time and relative higher technology than conventional gas exploration and production.

He said that 5-6 years a go the potential has not been known in the US. But now shale gas has contributed 30 percent of US gas production and it would increase to 49 percent in 2035. This changed the US market gas price dramatically. Now the US average gas market is USD 3 per MBTU. This is of course price without any government subsidy.

According to Mr. Edy Hermantoro, Director of Upstream Oil and Gas Business Development in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the increasing demand of oil and gas requires energy diversification effort, for instance, shale gas. Combined (conventional) gas production in South East Asia would not be sufficient to fulfill the rising demand and there will be a huge supply-demand gap in 2020. In Indonesia the shale gas potential is projected in many areas: Northern Sumatera, Southern Sumatera, Lampung, Central Java, East Java, Central Kalimantan, Eastern Kalimantan, and West Irian Jaya. It is even planned to have gas pipeline between Kalimantan and Java islands. To attract investors the Government has issued Government Regulation No. 79/2010, in which Cost Recovery is also taken into account. However, this regulation is currently under critic from the Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA) because it contains negative list that even longer than previous regulation and even includes some non-recoverable items that were recognized by the Government before.

However, if above-mentioned US gas price is to be compared with Indonesian gas price, it should be very cheap. The 2011 gas price in Indonesia is USD 4.00-6.50 for fertilizer producers, 4.55-6.07 for electricity (practically the PLN - Perusahaan Listrik Negara), USD 4.20-5.40 for Gas Trader, and USD 8.12-13.23 for LNG export.

The late Deputy Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Prof. Widjajono Partowidagdo has ever talked that the Indonesian shale gas potential is 574 TSCF, far bigger than CBM which is 453 TCF and conventional natural gas which is 334 TCF. Pertamina even had a plan to import US shale gas.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

e-Toll Discussion

In Jakarta, there is a big discussion concerning e-Toll. The Minister for SOE, Dahlan Iskan, insists that there should be no more than 5 cars in queueing entering the toll gate in the city and he assumed that this will be solved by implementing (you can read it: selling) more e-Toll card.
The e-Toll system is recently developed by State-Owned Bank Mandiri and its network is already extending to minimarkets. The question is: is it true that 5-cars-in-queue target solely the problem of PT. Jasa Marga (the state-owned toll operator) and is it true that by implementing e-Toll there will be no more long queues?
To answer first question, we should see statistics: in Greater Jakarta Area there are new 1.3 million cars and motorbikes per year rolling on the streets, and the growth is estimated 10-12% according to the Greater Jakarta Police. The growth of street development is less than 1% per year. Has the Minister read this numbers?

The second question is correlating closely with the first question: if you have cars streaming to your toll gate and if this "sophisticated" e-Toll card read time is 10 seconds, then you will have 4 minutes for the cars. But if you take into account that every car is approximately 4 meter long, then for 20 cars you have 80 meter distance from the gate to the last car. Just forget it.

Jasa Marga and Mandiri should have taken into account many complaints on existing e-Toll system. They said that even e-Toll read and validation time is not shorter or even longer than manual system by operator! So forget about that 10 seconds. Again, the Minister arguments are weak and even baseless. The Minister has even tried to sell the cards himself by some beautiful artists but it didn't show the expected result. Why? Because the customer knows. And that "heroic" effort by the Minister has even resulted contraproductive additional jam that day because he needs 5-10 minutes to talk with passing drivers.

Jasa Marga seemed to know that problem by offering on board unit installed in the car. With this technology cars passing by with 10 km/h could be detected automatically. However the price should be paid by the customer is Rp. 500.000 per unit (USD 56) and it seems that it would be long way to be implemented since it is very doubtful that the customers are ready for it. In my opinion, the Minister should have jumped into this device, not e-Toll card which has proven its lower-than-expection delivery.

The problem is not e-Toll. The problem is there is not enough good public transportation in Jakarta. Even buses of PPD - another State-Owned transportation company - are old and imported from dumped Japanese buses. The Minister should have known this - not just let PPD acquired by PT. Kereta Api - The State Railway - because they are different!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

East Kalimantan has 105 TCF CBM

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is a new alternative energy source, also in gas-rich Indonesia. According to Dr. Evita Legowo, Director-General Oil and Gas at Indonesian Ministry for Energy and Mineral Resources, the Indonesian government is now looking on implementing of further incentives for companies that develop CBM projects in the country, all in a drive to attract more investment into the sector. The incentive scheme being explored will include a tax facility system in which every oil and gas activity in the country is exempted from import duties for exploration equipments, and value-added tax.

In order to push CBM development, Dr. Legowo explained, the Government has prepared some incentives. Among such are by giving an interesting production sharing for investors, which is 55% for the Government and 45% for the investor. It is the biggest CBM production sharing compares with oil and gas. For petroleum, the production sharing composition is 85% for the Government and 15% for the investor. As for gas, the share is 70% for the Government and 30% for the investor. Evita said that besides production sharing, we are also discussing tax dispensation as another incentive.

Indonesia`s CBM potential is quite large (second worldś largest after China); around 453 TCF, spread in the areas, especially Southern Sumatera and East Kalimantan. For the details: North Sumatera for 52,50 TCF, Ombilin 0,50 TCF, South Sumatera 183 TCF, Bengkulu 3,60 TCF, Jatibarang 0,80 TCF, Kutei 80,40 TCF, Barito 101,60 TCF, Pasir dan Asem-Asem 3 TCF, Tarakan Utara 17,50 TCF, Berau 8,40 TCF and Sulawesi 2 TCF.

East Kalimantan in total has 105 TCF, according to Advanced Resources International (2003). CBM eploration has been done by the State-Owned Pertamina together with Ephindo Sangatta West in Sangatta. Vico should have been also doing eploration in Badak, East Kalimantan. Pertamina has been operational in CBM Sangatta 1, 2, 3, 4 and CBM Tarakan, Bunyu, and also CBM SImanggaris. Benua Etam has also attracted some investors.

In East Kalimantan, Dart Energy Ltd is a partner company of Pertamina. Dart owns 24% interest in Sangatta West CBM block, 50km north of the Bontang LNG facility. The company become joint operator with PT Ephindo (24%) through its JV, Sangatta West CBM Inc. The other 52% interest is held by Pertamina.

Pupuk Kaltim, one of the 5 state-owned fertilizer producers under Pupuk Sriwidjaja Holding has shown interests in CBM supply as well as Badak NGL. Both companies are in Bontang.