Arifin Panigoro, the founder of Indonesia's largest publicly-listed oil and gas company Medco Energi International. (Photo courtesy of Medco Energi)

Indonesian Oil Magnate Arifin Panigoro Dies at 76


FEBRUARY 28, 2022

Jakarta. Indonesian oil magnate Arifin Panigoro passed away in Rochester, Minneapolis, United States, on Monday at the age of 76, the Panigoro family said in a statement. 

"We, the family of Mr. Arifin Panigoro and the Medco Group, thank you for the help from all parties and workers for the support and prayers while he was being treated," Hilmi Panigoro, Arifin's brother and president director of Medco Energi International, said in a statement. 


"Please forgive him if there is any mistake during his activities," Hilmi said.

Arifin was known mainly as the founder of Indonesia's largest publicly-listed oil and gas company Medco Energi International. He was also a politician, becoming a household name during the tumultuous period that led to President Suharto's resignation in 1998.

Arifin served as a lawmaker from Indonesia's Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) from 1999 to 2005 when he resigned from the party of Megawati Soekarnoputri to join several other PDI-P's senior politicians establishing a new one, Reform Democratic Party (PDP). The party competed in the 2009 election but failed to get any seat in the House of Representatives (DPR).

Up until his death, Arifin was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council, which provides advice to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on various issues, from politics, economy to security and environment. 

He also sit at the board of supervisors of Stop TB Partnership Indonesia, a foundation that encourages cooperation and coordination between organizational partners, individuals, and the governments, to fight tuberculosis in the country.   

Arifin was born into a merchant family in Bandung, West Java, on March 14, 1945, five months before the Indonesian independence. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from the Bandung Institute of Technology in 1973 and immediately started an electrical installation service company of his own. 

He enrolled in the senior executive program at the European Institute of Business, Fountainebleau, France, in 1979.

Together with several of his friends, Arifin established Medco in 1980, venturing into the oil and gas drilling service business, which, was at the time, was dominated by the state-owned energy company Pertamina and foreign companies like the Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron. 

Today, Medco has evolved into an energy and natural resources company with over $1 billion market capitalization. The company involves in three main business areas: oil and gas, power, and copper mining, controlling assets in Indonesia and places as far as Mexico, Libya, Tanzania, Yemen, and Oman.