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© 2013
May 16, 2013
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An oil refinery for Batam?
AZERBAIJAN, one of Indonesia’s major suppliers of oil, is planning to build a US$4.8 billion oil refinery in Batam and an aluminum plant in Kalimantan to cement the increas-ingly close relations between the South Caucasus nation and South-east Asia’s largest economy, a top Azerbaijani diplomat said.
“Our state oil company, SOCAR, is in negotiations with Indonesia’s OSO Group to build a large oil refinery in Batam. There is no final decision yet on the project; it is being con-sidered,” Azerbaijani Ambassador to Indonesia Tamerlan Karayev said.
Karayev noted that bilateral ties were growing fast. Several high-level visits, including Coordinating Eco-nomic Minister Hatta Rajasa’s visit in 2012 and a recent visit by House of Representatives’ Speaker Marzuki Alie to Azerbaijan and his Azerbaijan counterpart, Oqtay Asadov’s, visit to Jakarta, have taken place in the last two years. 
“We are currently negotiating 14 bilateral agreements with Indonesia, which will be signed during our president’s visit to Indonesia next year,” he added.
Karayev said Baku was very interested in further strengthening two decades of friendship by invest-ing in several projects. 
“The oil refinery in Batam is one of them. Our Delta Group is also considering a plan to build an aluminum plant in Kalimantan. We are also interested in building a fertilizer plant in Indonesia,” he said. 
It was the first official confirmation from Azerbaijan that both countries were holding talks over the much-needed oil refinery in Indonesia. - The Jakarta Post
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NOW, YOU can book your ferry ride with BatamFast between Batam and Singapore by SMS on your phone. Here are the guidelines.
First, sign up at Signup page.
Then, call either +65 82 934 666 or +62 855 6504 666, and key in: “checkin,” space,  your port origin code (see below),  space, your destination port code, space, your departure date (ddMM), space, and your departure time (HHmm).
Your confirmation message will include: booking reference num-ber, origin port code, destination port code, departure date/time.
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Book your next ferry by SMS
Batam offers tropical homes at Singapore’s doorstep
Port codes
Harbourfront (HFC)
Harbour Bay (HBB)
Batam Centre (BTC)
Nongsa (NPT)
Tanah Merah (TMF)
Sekupang (SKP)
Waterfront City (WFC).
We found this review online at Expatliving.com, and while it does promote one upscale residential area (Montigo Resorts, right), it also paints an interesting picture of owning a home on Batam.
Batam to establish new licensing system
WITH TIGHTER curbs on Singapore property, residents are increasingly looking for luxury homes in the region that are in close proximity but cost a fraction of what they would in Singapore.
Many expats working in Singapore who go searching for a tranquil, tropical escape with top-class food, golf, spas and the rest, usually look to Bali, Phuket, Koh Samui and Lombok, only to find they’re
not always practical. The cost of airfares, the availability of flights, and the travel downtime all become factors.It was by pure chance that we stumbled across Batam as a prospect a few years ago, and found that it ticked all the boxes.
One of Indonesia’s Riau Islands (along with Bintan), Batam sits 20km off the south coast of Singapore, and is just a 45-minute ferry ride away. It therefore makes for a perfect marriage of convenience for commuters, expats working in Batam, retirees, companies or those seeking a holiday home.
That might come as a surprise to some, since Batam doesn’t have a reputation as a tropical escape, yet I know quite a few expats there – some have lived there for more than 20 years – who really enjoy the lifestyle and the fact that it’s much more affordable than Singapore.
It’s also far less populated. Batam is approximately the same size as Singapore but with about one fifth of the people. Yet, it maintains close economic ties with Singapore and, as a free-trade zone, has hugely encouraged investment and business connections between the two islands.
According to one Batam Web site (expat.or.id), there are more than 3,000 expats living on the island. Approximately 80% are from other Asian countries and the rest from the likes of the UK, Europe, Australia and the U.S.
Popular areas for expats include the golf and resort area of Nongsa (there’s a direct 35-minute ferry from Tanah Merah to Nongsapura) and the area around the Indah Puri Golf Resort (45 minutes from Harbourfront to Sekupang). Up to 30 ferries a day mean no long delays, no traffic jams, and a very safe bet you will get to your destination (door to door) within two hours.
Return ferry fares range from $40 to $60 (compare that with an airfare) and there’s a $10 visa charge at the other end for non-ASEAN residents. Yes, this can take up a chunk of your passport if you’re regularly heading over, but arranging a business visa and a smart card to minimize immigration procedures is neither difficult nor expensive.
As with any lifestyle purchase, it’s best not to look at property here as an investment (keep that for Singapore); rather, enjoy it for what it provides – any financial profit is pure bonus. Having said that, people who bought units at Montigo Resorts Nongsa off the plan three years ago have already doubled their money.
All land in Batam is leased by BIDA (Batam Industrial Development Authority) from the Indonesian Land Authority for a period of 80 years, after which it is expected that contracts will revert to the Indo-nesian Land Authority and will prob-ably be treated the same way as in the rest of Indonesia. Land in Batam can only be leased: 80 years for Indonesians, 75 years for foreigners. When a sale is effected, it usually takes one month to transfer the land lease contracts via BIDA.
Weighing up the running costs of buying a property in a resort complex compared with those of buying a standalone home, they seem to even themselves out. A complex such as Montigo Resorts gives you the hotel facilities with a monthly maintenance fee ranging from $500 to $800, plus the option of a rental package to enjoy a return on your investment. A villa independent of a resort also has the rental option, and the monthly cost of around $800 includes two live-in staff and maintenance of the swimming pool plus utilities.
Although Batam’s beaches aren’t fabulous, boating types have great fun visiting the much better beaches on many nearby islands; and, of course, keeping a boat in Indonesia is again a more affordable option.
As far as shopping goes, you can find most of what you need in the shops in Batam, but for those hard-to-find-items, most expats head over to Singapore once or twice a month. For golfers, some of the properties, such as Balinese villas near the Indah Puri Golf Club, come with golf membership.
For us, the plan is simple. While we currently find time to go over for a night or two and enjoy a game of golf, in the future we will be based in Batam and will come back to Singapore for work comm-itments, appointments or events as required. – expatliving.com
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THE BATAM Industrial Development Authority (BP Batam) will establish a new Batam Single Window (BSW) to improve the efficiency of the previous Single Window Integrated Service (PTSP) system, a BP Batam official said. 
“We will launch the program in 2014 to improve the investment service in Batam,” said PTSP Spokesman of BP Batam Dwi Joko Wiwoho said. 
He said the BSW is an online licensing facility system that can be accessed by companies or individuals to speed up services and reduce direct meetings. 
The program can help speed up the service to the public. Agencies related to licensing and investment will be involved in the program. 
“BP Batam hopes that with the program, the number of local and foreign investors doing business in the Batam Free Trade Zone (FTZ) will increase,” Wiwoho said. 
In the meantime, BP Batam spokesman Ilham Eka Hartawan said the Batam development authority had set itself a target of at least 90 foreign investors making investment in the region, with a minimal investment values of US$350 million in 2013. 
He added that Asian states, including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan, are among countries that have made investment in Batam. 
“The main target this year is to have promotion in several Asian countries to invest in Batam. However, we do not rule out the possibilities of conducting promotions in American, European and African countries,” Hartawan said. 
He added that several sectors expected to attract foreign invest-ments included electronics, manufacture, shipyard, as well as oil and gas. 
Hartawan said the trade and service sectors are also expected to attract investment to Batam. These sectors received high values of investment last year. - Antara
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IRAN IS using Batam’s port in a strategy to keep up sales to buyers in Asia in the teeth of Western sanct-ions, according to shipping data and industry sources.
Two Iranian very large crude carriers (VLCCs), able to hold 2 million barrels each, sailed to Batam Island in April, according to AIS ship tracking on Reuters, which tracks global tanker movements, before moving on to China.
U.S. and European sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons have halved Iran’s shipments, costing the government billions of dollars in oil revenue, since the start of 2012.
“Iran has been using this strategy for the past few months,” said analysts at FGE, an energy consultancy. “The strategy is taking the crude to islands in Asia via VLCCs and selling it from there. It’s a crucial stream of revenue for the country, so it’s very important they sell as much as they can.”
Batam Island is just 20 km (12 miles) off the south coast of Singapore, the continent’s oil hub. Industry sources and oil traders said that before last year it was rare for Iranian tankers to ship crude there.
Iran has shipped oil via other islands in Asia to help maintain exports. In September, Reuters reported Iran was parking oil at Labuan before shipping it on to other destinations.
“They have used Labuan in Malaysia in the past, so there is nothing really to stop them using Batam as a base as there are no sanctions-related drawbacks,” said a shipping industry source familiar with Iran’s tanker fleet and its movements.
The two tankers, Sonata and Courage, both belong to Iran’s top tanker operator, NITC. They have sailed on to China after Batam, according to AIS.
Another shipping industry source said there were indications based on ship tracking other tankers could also be involved in movements around Batam. Three tankers - Glaros, Seagull and Ocean Nymph - last reported their positions around the South China Sea area close to Indonesia recently, but have since not updated their positions.
In April, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude was China, followed by South Korea, Japan, India, Turkey and Taiwan, according to estimates from industry sources. All of these buyers have cut their purchases over the last year.
Iran has reduced its oil exports to about 1.1 million barrels per day - worth roughly $3.3 billion a month at current prices - or about half of its rate at the start of 2012 before tighter sanctions kicked in.
With Iran more dependent on its own tankers to move oil because of sanctions, NITC vessels including Maharlika, Skyline and Demos have been making high-speed journeys to China and other Asian destinations from Iran to maxmimise flows, said a third shipping industry source. - Reuters
Is Iran routing oil via Batam?