JOURNAL MONITOR VOL.2 NO.30 : PALM OIL INDUSTRY TRANSFORMS RIAU’S ECONOMY FROM NON-RENEWABLE TO RENEWABLE

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Riau’s economy since the colonial era has been built on the mainstay of non-renewable resources based on petroleum (oil and gas sector) with multinational corporations as the main actors, namely Caltex (California Texas Oil Corporation). Riau’s highest oil production ever reached one million barrels per day in 1976, but its production continued to decline to only 222,000 barrels per day in 2000 and 76,000 barrels per day in 2019. The decline in the role of the oil and gas sector in Riau’s economy was also seen in its share of the structure of GRDP (from 62 percent to 14 percent) and export structure (from 86 percent to 4 percent) in the last 20 years.

On the other hand, Riau has succeeded in developing an economy based on more renewable resources, namely oil palm plantations, with the main actor being the synergy of smallholders, private and state-owned enterprises (PTPN). Oil palm plantations have also played a role in driving Riau’s economy, both in the district’s economic growth and in reducing unemployment and poverty. Even in Riau’s exports, the palm oil industry succeeded in replacing the position of the oil and gas sector, with its export share increasing from only 0.34 percent to 60 percent. This shows that the palm oil industry has transformed Riau’s economy from a non-renewable economy to a renewable one, while also changing from an unsustainable economy to a sustainable one.

The role of oil palm plantations in Riau is not only transforming the economy but also creating new value, namely environmental value, considering their role as a carbon sink and carbon stock. In the oil and gas era, Riau produced quite large carbon emissions into the earth’s atmosphere, whereas oil palm plantations actually absorbed carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. Through palm oil plantations, they clean the earth’s air polluted by the oil and gas sector. So, overall, palm oil plantations in Riau have not only succeeded in transforming Riau’s economy from non-renewable to renewable, but also transformed Riau’s economy from an unsustainable economy to a sustainable one.

Perekonomian Riau sejak era Kolonial dibangun dengan andalan non-renewable resources berbasiskan minyak bumi dengan aktor utama korporasi multinasional yaitu Caltex (California Texas Oil Corporation). Produksi minyak bumi Riau tertinggi yang pernah tercapai sebesar satu juta barel per hari tahun 1976, namun produksinya terus menurun menjadi hanya 222 ribu barrel per hari tahun 2000 dan 76 ribu barel per hari pada tahun 2019. Penurunan peran sektor migas dalam ekonomi Riau juga terlihat pada pangsanya dalam struktur PDRB (dari 62 persen menjadi 14 persen) dan struktur ekspor (dari 86 persen menjadi 4 persen) dalam kurun waktu 20 tahun terakhir.

Di sisi lain, Riau berhasil mengembangkan ekonomi berbasiskan sumberdaya yang lebihi renewable yakni perkebunan sawit dengan aktor utama sinergitas perkebunan sawit rakyat, swasta dan BUMN (PTPN). Perkebunan sawit juga telah berperan menjadi penggerak ekonomi Riau baik dalam pertumbuhan ekonomi kabupaten, pengurangan pengangguran dan kemiskinan. Bahkan dalam ekspor Riau, industri sawit berhasil menggantikan posisi migas dengan pangsa ekspornya meningkat dari hanya 0.34 persen menjadi 60 persen. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa industri sawit telah mentransformasi ekonomi Riau dari non-renewable economy dan eksklusif kepada renewable economy dan inklusif.

Peran perkebunan sawit di Riau juga tidak hanya mentransformasi perekonomiannya saja tetapi menciptakan nilai baru yakni nilai lingkungan, mengingat perannya sebagai carbon sink dan carbon stock. Pada era minyak bumi, Riau menghasilkan emisi karbon yang cukup besar ke atmosfir bumi, sebaliknya perkebunan sawit justru menyerap karbon dioksida dari atmosfir bumi. Melalui perkebunan sawit membersihkan kembali udara bumi, yang dikotori ekonomi migas. Artinya terjadinya juga transformasi ekonomi Riau dari unsustainable economy ke sustainable economy.
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