In a speech to open an energy conference in the Indonesian capital Jakarta late on Sunday, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he aimed to boost investment in the country's oil and gas industry, which has struggled in recent years despite huge untapped resources.

  

"I wish to reassure you that I will do my best to remove major barriers in the energy sector," Susilo said.

  

"I know a lot of you have tax issues on your mind. On this issue I have asked the ministers to study and review the existing tax policy. I promise you that if you stay with us for the long-term, you will harvest the rewards accordingly," he said.

 

Crucial step

  

Susilo witnessed the signing of 46 oil and gas contracts worth more than $4 billion, seen as a crucial step towards revitalising the energy sector.

  

Despite its membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), Indonesia has recently become a net importer of oil due to falling production from its ageing production facilities.

  

The new contracts include 15 production-sharing deals for both oil and gas exploration, with total commitments of $190 million.