Indonesia may form a consortium to take over a 35% stake in the Masela gas project held by Shell after the company signaled its intention to withdraw, the investment minister said on Sept. 8.

Bahlil Lahadalia told parliament Shell wanted to divest from the $20 billion project, so a consortium of state-owned energy firm Pertamina, the Indonesia Investment Authority (INA) sovereign wealth fund and other companies could take its share.

"The president has ordered me and the state-owned enterprises minister to prioritise the Masela gas project," he told lawmakers.

Japanese energy company Inpex Corp. controls 65% of the project, also known as Abadi LNG project and hopes to make a final investment in Masela in the later half of this decade.

Bahlil also said the president believed Saumlaki town in the Tanimbar Islands was the right location for the project, as basic infrastructure was available.

Pertamina would review any opportunities to increase production including development of the Masela project, said Arya Dwi Paramita, spokeperson of its upstream unit Pertamina Hulu Energi.

A Shell spokeperson said the company could not comment on the project's portfolio activity at this time.

Inpex and INA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.