he history of our company actually goes hand-in-hand with the development of the entire Indonesian mineral industry, including oil and gas. During the Sukarno era in the 1950s and early 1960s, there was no foreign investment. The industry was completely under government control
The New Foreign Investment Law of 1967 has created a sudden influx of foreign investment. To take advantage of the new investment climate, Ong and Durban decided to form PT Geoservices. The company started as an exploration service company for both minerals and oil &gas. Lacking capital, they could only work as consultants, but their scientific knowledge was invaluable and they quickly prospered.
Initially the company focused on mineral exploration because metal prices were high and our background was mainly in hard rock and metals. The mineral boom subsided in the wake of the Vietnam War, but the energy crisis of 1980 presented a new opportunity. As a result, the company shifted its focus to energy exploration, beginning with oil and then followed by geothermal and coal. The two latter resources were just opening up in Indonesia in the 1980s and the Government was issuing new blocks for tender.
PT Geoservices started our first coal exploration project in 1979 at the request of UTAH, a US-based International mining company that was performing large-scale exploration in Kalimantan. To head the UTAH project, we recruited the late Rahman Gunawan, who had been working for five years as a senior geologist for Shell Coal in South Sumatra. Because of the lack of expertise that prevailed in Indonesia at that time, we had to train two dozen high school graduates to become “instant coal prospectors” by giving them a two-week crash course in field geology. These “instant prospectors” were assigned to walk criss-cross the jungle using compass to find and locate coal outcrops and report to the geologist who will then visit the outcrop for a detail description and analysis. Since then our company has become renowned for its strength in coal exploration.
UTAH was eventually bought by ARCO and its name was changed to ARUTMIN: ARco-UTah-MINerals. That company was in turn taken over by BHP Billiton, and then by PT Bumi Resources. Nevertheless, PT Geoservices is still working for ARUTMIN after more than three decades. We currently have two labs entirely dedicated to ARUTMIN: one in Kotabaru that has been operating since the mine started producing; and a newer one in Asam-Asam Port.
PT Geoservices set up its first coal Laboratory in Bandung in 1981 with technical assistance from the Australian Coal Industrial Research Laboratories (ACIRL). Bruce Proudfoot, a senior manager at ACIRL was assigned to train our personnel at their facility in Australia and then set up our lab in Bandung. We were the first commercial private lab in Indonesia. The joint venture ceased to operate when ACIRL sold its share in 2003.
Initially samples came to our coal lab in Bandung from all over Indonesia for analysis. Later, it became clear that the coal was mainly coming from East Kalimantan, so we established a coal laboratory in Samarinda in 1990, which was our first laboratory outside Java. At present we have a total of 31 coal laboratories: 2 in Java, 2 in Sumatra, 13 in Kalimantan, 12 at dedicated mine sites, and 2 under construction. These laboratories are managed by Hana Mulyana, Gundawa, and Steve Studdert, who have been with us for about 20 years. Bruce Proudfoot is now our emeritus advisor.
PT. Geoservices has more coal laboratories throughout Indonesia than anybody else. Our experience has given us the know-how and flexibility to weather diverse operational challenges in Indonesia. We are well-positioned to handle a large volume of samples and provide rapid turn-around to meet any exploration needs. We have the financial backing and depth of talent to set up a new coal laboratory on short notice, dedicated exclusively to your company. We are confident that we can reduce your risk and support your operation from start to finish.
In line with the rise in coal exports, Geoservices established coal superintending services in 1991. These services, combined with our existing oil and minerals superintending division, cover most of the major shipping ports throughout Indonesia.
On top of our traditional services in geological and topographical mapping, PT Geoservices has steadily added services since 1991 to support all aspects of coal exploration: core drilling, electric well logging, resource and reserve estimation, and feasibility studies. These services are performed by our “Mineral Exploration Division” in Bandung headed by Nurmansyah Munir and Khoiril Arief. Each has been with the company for over 25 years. We offer a one-stop solution for all your coal exploration needs.
Currently, Durban L. Ardjo is the President of PT Geoservices and H. L. Ong serves as an advisor. We have been partners for over 40 years. Our company has gained the trust of both domestic and foreign clients, who know our reputation for integrity without compromise. Our clients have entrusted us with millions of analysis of their exploration and production samples for over three decades.
and any development was in the context of Government-to-Government relationships. In 1967, President Suharto opened the door for foreign investment by issuing a new law. Watching this new opportunity flower, we established PT Geoservices in 1971.
PT Geoservices was founded by Durban L. Ardjo and H. L. Ong. Their friendship dates back when both were students at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). Durban enrolled in the Mining Department and Ong was in the Geology Department. They took several classes together, especially the same required subjects such as Crystallography and Mineralogy. After graduation, both men received USAID scholarships to pursue graduate studies at the Colorado School of Mines, and they matriculated in 1963. Durban received a master's in Metallurgy in 1965 and Ong got a doctor of science in Geochemistry in 1967. Their scholarship arrangement required them to repatriate and serve the Government of Indonesia. Both became lecturers at their alma mater Institut Teknologi Bandung.