Eight Indonesian engineers were part of the team which discovered natural gas reserves off Turkey’s Black Sea coast.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last week the discovery of the 320 billion cubic meters (11.3 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas.

The gas field is expected to start operations in 2023 to coincide with Turkey’s 100-year anniversary.

“Not many people have the knowledge and experiences in wireline drilling. That is why we are hired to work here and to train the local staff in Turkey,” said Beni Kusuma Atmaja, who was part of the team.

Apart from him, Randyka Komala, Bahriansyah Hutabarat, Rifani Hakim, Dian Suluh Priambodo, Hardiyan, Indra Ari Wibowo, and Ravi Mudiatmoko were listed as expert staff from Indonesia.

Praising their expertise, Imam Asari, the Indonesian consul general in Istanbul, said: “It should be an example for young people in Indonesia to pursue wider knowledge and achieve great things.”

Apart from Turkey, many Indonesian oil and gas professionals work for multinational companies in Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, and the United States.

Oil and gas expert Ibrahim Hasyim said expats working abroad are usually retirees or former employees of the state-owned energy company Pertamina and students who graduated from overseas university.

Fahmy Radhi, another expert, said that Indonesian engineers chose to work abroad as they were paid higher than in the homeland.

“In Indonesia they feel like they are treated as second class citizens and not [recognized] based on their capabilities, both in national and foreign oil and gas companies,” said Radhi.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo and Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service.

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