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Chrevron's activities in Riau province, Indonesia

Chevron’s production in Riau province, has been plagued by economic and environmental injustice but Chevron has repressed the protests. In May 2013, the anti-corruption court convicted two directors of two Chevron’s Indonesian contractors for corruption.


Chevron's partnership with the people and the Government of Indonesia can be traced back to 1924, when the Standard Oil Company of California (Socal), now Chevron, dispatched a geological expedition to the island of Sumatra. [8] Its oil production began in 1952 and it remained active in Indonesia throughout the infamously brutal and repressive decades of the Suharto dictatorship (1965-1998). The majority of Chevron’s oil production has, and continues to take place in the Riau province in the center of the Sumatra Island, where it operates four onshore blocks, the largest of which, the Duri field, is one of the world’s giant oilfields and the one of the largest steamflood operations. [6] Through its subsidiaries, PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia and Chevron Indonesia Company, it conducts oil and gas operations. Chevron also manages geothermal projects through Chevron Geothermal Indonesia, Ltd., and Chevron Geothermal Salak, Ltd., in Indonesia. It also sells lubricants in Indonesia through its subsidiary PT Chevron Oil Products Indonesia. [8] Chevron’s Riau production has been plagued by economic injustice, environmental destruction, and the dislocation and disenfranchisement of Indigenous populations. As a result, citizen resistance to Chevron has been a constant of life in Riau, often taking the form of massive protests against the company, with protestors at times numbering in the tens of thousands. Chevron has employed brutal measures to quiet protests, including utilizing Indonesia’s notorious security services, bringing charges of human rights abuse, violence and intimidation. For example, WALHI - Friends of the Earth Indonesia denounced many such facts in a 2011 report. They describe for example collusions between the company and special forces in Indonesia: on 27 January 2000 Chevron paid the BRIMOB to overcome a series of actions and protests over land disputes and employment [6]. The BRIMOB are well-known for extreme human rights violations, including kidnapping, rape, torture, indiscriminate violence and murder. As a result of the brutality of BRIMOB, 15 people involved in the protests against Chevron were wounded and five were hospitalized.  The report goes on with a protest action happened September 14th, 2009, when Mr. Darmaidi, a local sand miner, climbed atop a Chevron high-voltage electricity tower in Pematang Pudu and he sought to commit suicide from atop Chevron’s tower. Only the supportive words of neighbors brought him down safely. The reason was he was unable to work on his land because, he contended, it had been contaminated by Chevron’s oil. Two months earlier, Darmiadi sent a letter to Chevron asking the company to take responsibility. The company denied responsibility and his request, and further argued that because Chevron owned part of his land, Darmaidi should not be sand mining on the land anyway.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Chrevron's activities in Riau province, Indonesia
State or province:Riau province in the center of the Sumatra Island
Location of conflict:Manggala Jonson Village; local communities in the Rumbai Coastal area
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Chevron has been Indonesia’s largest producer of crude oil which delivers approximately 40% of national production from its operations in Riau and East Kalimantan and provides electricity for millions of Indonesians from its geothermal projects in West Java. The total cumulative oil production is more than 12 billion barrels.[8]

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Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:27/01/2000
Company names or state enterprises:Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) from Indonesia
Chevron Pacific Indonesia-Sumatra Light North from Indonesia
Chevron Pacific Indonesia-Sumatra Light South from Indonesia
Chevron Pacific Indonesia-Heavy Oil from Indonesia
Green Planet from Indonesia
Sumigita from Indonesia
Chevron Polska Energy Resources Sp. z o.o. from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Executive Agency for Upstream Oil and Gas (BPMIGAS); Local Parliament Commission in the Rumbai Coastal area; Ministry of Environment; Supreme Audit Agency; Special Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business Activities
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Peasant Group Rantau Bais Terpadu[6];
Friends of the Earth Indonesia-
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
sand miners
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil contamination, Oil spills, Waste overflow, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion, Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts, Accidents
Other Health impactsasphyxiation, sore throats,burn wounds,oil spill contained hazardous waste, which
was inhaled by the community;skin problems [6]
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Other socio-economic impactsdisenfranchisement
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The anti-corruption court, convicting the two directors of Green Planet and Sumigita of corruption, damaged the Chevron's imagine. And of course the citizens and communities protests slowed down the Chevron activities and they have given visibility to environmental problems. But as yet Chevron didn't care to requests and repressed the protests.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[6] Pius Ginting, WALHI - Friends of the Earth Indonesia, An Alternative Annual Report May 2011, The True Cost of Chevron, p. 39 Indonesia.
[click to view]

[7] Surya Darma, Sugiharto Harsoprayitno, Bambang Setiawan, Hadyanto,

R.Sukhyar, Anton W.Soedibjo , Novi Ganefianto and Jim Stimac, Geothermal Energy Update: Geothermal Energy Development and Utilization in Indonesia, Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010
[click to view]

M.H. Hasana, T.M.I. Mahliaa, Hadi Nurc, A review on energy scenario and sustainable energy in Indonesia, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 16, Issue 4, Pag. 2316–2328, May 2012
[click to view]

[1]Generating clean, reliable and affordable electricity in Indonesia, The Guardian, 27 February 2013
[click to view]

[2]MURRAY HIEBERT, Indonesia’s Skewed Case Against Chevron, Nov. 5, 2014
[click to view]

[3] Fergus Jensen, CORRECTED-Chevron criticises imprisonment of Indonesian contractor,, Wed May 8, 2013
[click to view]

[4] JOE COCHRANE, Conviction of Chevron Worker Spurs Oil Industry Concerns in Indonesia, JULY 17, 2013
[click to view]

[5]Chevron Statement on Central Jakarta District Court Verdict for Bachtiar A. Fatah

JAKARTA, INDONESIA, October 17, 2013
[click to view]

[8] Chevronindonesia, About Chevron in Indonesia
[click to view]

Cochrane Joe, Chevron worker convicted in corrupt
[click to view]

Ben Bland and Taufan Hidayat, Chevron employees sentenced in Indonesia corruption case, Asia-Pacific, July 18, 2013
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Myriam Bartolucci, EjAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2261
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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