Before the oil boom of the early 1900s, Balikpapan was an isolated Bugis fishing village. Balikpapan’s toponym (balik = “behind” and papan = “plank”) is from a folk story in which a local king threw his newborn daughter into the sea to protect her from his enemies. The baby was tied beneath some planks that were discovered by a fisherman. At any other stories, Balikpapan’s (“balik” = “behind” and “papan” = “plank”) is from an event that Kutai sultanete send planks for aid to Paser Kingdom to build new palace. But the planks back to somewhere location that next time said as Balikpapan.

City of Balikpapan as the Municipality in East Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. Balikpapan is located on the south eastern coast of East Kalimantan facing the deep Makassar Straits. Balikpapan, epithet can called as The Exotic Oil City, because of there are second biggest oil refinery in Indonesia belongs to PT. PERTAMINA (State-owned Oil & Gas Enterprise, fully owned by Government of Indonesia), referred as PERTAMINA Refinery Unit V Balikpapan.


In 1897 a small refinery company began the first oil drilling. Building of roads, wharves, warehouses, offices, barracks, and bungalows started when the Dutch oil company Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM) arrived in the area.

On 24 January 1942 a Japanese invasion convoy arrived at Balikpapan and was attacked by four United States Navy destroyers that sank three Japanese transports. The Japanese army landed and after a sharp but short fight defeated the Dutch garrison. The defenders had partially destroyed the oil refinery and other facilities. After this the Japanese massacred many of the Europeans they had captured. Several campaigns, including the longest bombing run so far, followed until the 1945 Battle of Balikpapan, which concluded the Borneo campaign by which Allied Forces took control of Borneo island. Extensive wartime damage curtailed almost all oil production in the area until Royal Dutch Shell completed major repairs in 1950.

CIA Air Raid
In 1958 the CIA attacked Balikpapan and stopped oil exports. The US was running a CIA covert mission to undermine President Sukarno’s government by supporting right-wing rebels in Indonesia. The CIA, Taiwan and the Philippines had provided the Permesta rebels in North Sulawesi with an insurgent air force, the Angkatan Udara Revolusioner (AUREV). On 19 April 1958 a CIA pilot, William H Beale, Jr, flying a B-26 Invader bomber aircraft that was painted black and showing no markings, dropped four 500 lb (230 kg) bombs on Balikpapan. The first damaged the runway at Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport, the second set the British oil tanker SS San Flaviano on fire and sank her and the third bounced off the British tanker MV Daronia without exploding. Beale’s fourth bomb set on fire and sank the Indonesian Navy Bathurst class corvette KRI Hang Tuah, killing 18 crew and wounding 28. Before attacking Hang Tuah, Beale also machine-gunned the oil pipes to Shell’s wharf.

The CIA had orders to attack unarmed foreign merchant ships in order to drive foreign trade away from Indonesia and weaken its economy, with the intention of undermining Sukarno’s government. The day before attacking Balikpapan, Beale had also damaged a Shell complex at Ambon, Maluku. His Balikpapan raid succeeded in persuading Shell to suspend tanker services from Balikpapan and withdraw shore-based wives and families to Singapore. However, on 18 May Indonesian naval and air forces off Ambon Island shot down an AUREV B-26 and captured its CIA pilot, Allen Pope. The US immediately withdrew support for Permesta, whose rebellion rapidly diminished thereafter.

Shell continued operating in the area until Indonesian state-owned Pertamina took it over in 1965. Lacking technology, skilled manpower, and capital to explore the petroleum region, Pertamina sublet petroleum concession contracts to multinational companies in the 1970s.

With the only oil refinery site in the region, Balikpapan emerged as a revitalized centre of petroleum production. Pertamina opened its East Borneo headquarters in the city, followed by branch offices established by other international oil companies. Hundreds of labourers from Indonesia, along with skilled expatriates who served as managers and engineers, flocked into the city.

During the Suharto dictatorship Balikpapan achieved unprecedented economic growth by attracting foreign investments, particularly in the exploitation of natural and mineral resources. The policy was heavily criticized for uncontrolled environmental damage and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians, but it significantly boosted urban development in resource-rich cities. In the 1970s Balikpapan experienced 7% population growth annually, while exports of timber and petroleum increased dramatically.

Based on Indonesian Most Liveable City Index which measured 27 indicators in every 2 years, Balikpapan is the best city for living in 2013 and toppled Yogyakarta as the best in 2011 and 2009. Balikpapan mainly maintained city management aspects and environment well. As part of the Earth Hour City Challenge, the city of Balikpapan, Indonesia was recognized as the Most Loveable City in the world for 2015.as 2016, Balikpapan nominated for the second times as most lovable and sustainable city and still count down for the final judgement.

Some multinational corporations operate in East Borneo. Companies including Baker Hughes (US), ChevronTexaco (US), Halliburton (US), Pertamina (Indonesia), Schlumberger (France), Thiess (Australia), Total S.A. (France) and Weatherford International (US) use Balikpapan as their base of operations in the region. Governmental public services including Bank Indonesia, the Finance Department, Angkasa Pura 1, the Port of Semayang, and several others also attract many people to work in this area.

Balikpapan has been chosen as the site of some important governmental agencies such as Kalimantan Military Regional Command VI Mulawarman and East & North Kalimantan Police Regional Department.

Balikpapan oil refinery is on the shore of Balikpapan Bay and covers an area of 2.5 square kilometres (1 sq mi). Founded in 1922, it is the oldest refinery in the area. The Allies destroyed it in the Second World War and Shell re-built it in 1950. The refinery has two subunits, Balikpapan I and Balikpapan II.

Balikpapan I has two raw oil refinery units that produce naphtha, kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel, and residue and one high-vacuum unit that produces 100 tonnes (110 tons) of paraffin oil distillate (POD), used as raw material for wax factories. The wax itself has various grades and is sold domestically and internationally.

Opened on 1 November 1983, Balikpapan II has a hydro-skimming and hydro-cracking refinery and produces petrol, LPG, naphtha, kerosene, and diesel fuel.

Indonesian government and their PT.PERTAMINA (pesero) planning as for 2017 expanding the oil refinery including the area of Persiba Balikpapan FC (old) stadium and Pertamina residents near the refinery. Balikpapan’s Major Mr. Rizal Effendi ask for primarily using Balikpapan peoples as worker that PT.PERTAMINA needed up to 20.000 new employers.



“Balikpapan, I build up, I protect, I stand up”


“The Exotic Oil City”

“Clean, Beautiful, Safe and Comfortable”

“Balikpapan is Livable City”

“Balikpapan is Clean, Green and Healthy”


  • The Most Clean City in ASEAN
  • The Most Lovable City in the World
  • The Most Lovable City in Indonesia
  • The Most Livable City in Indonesia
  • The Great Investment Destination
  • No.3 The Best Security System of Airport in the World, by Airports Council International
  • No.6 The Best Service of Airport in the World, by Airports Council International
  • The Best Eco Airport in the World
  • and many more…


  • The Most and The Best Clean City in Indonesia
  • The Best Traffic in Indonesia
  • and many many more…

Populations in Balikpapan

Per March 2015, total populations in Balikpapan is 713,232. The most came from Java, Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, and Sumatera. The most expatriates/foreigner populations per 2015 is more than 2500, most came from Australia, France, USA, Sweden, China, Korea, India, UK and Stan Countries.


  • HAMS SEPINGGAN International Airport
  • SEMAYANG International Seaport
  • International KARIANGAU Container Terminal
  • Fisherman Jetties
  • Hotels (5 stars – 2 stars)
  • Apartments
  • Malls / Plazas
  • Office Buildings
  • Beach Area (Lamaru, Manggar, Kemala, Kilang Mandiri, Beach House, and etc)
  • Wild Park
  • Animal Park
  • and many mores…

Balikpapan is the best place for investment and business development in any sectors, local government have commitment to support any domestic and international investors who willing and interest to open business or investment will be receive easily licensing and permitting processing.

Safe City is guaranteed by local government, without criminal, this is advantage for Balikpapan to get famously greatest place for investment and living.

The Most International Oil & Gas Companies in Balikpapan

  • PT. PERTAMINA Refinery Unit V Balikpapan (Indonesia)
  • PT. PERTAMINA E&P (Indonesia)
  • PT. PERTAMINA Marketing Unit V Balikpapan (Indonesia)
  • TOTAL E&P Indonesia (France)
  • CHEVRON TEXACO Indonesia (USA)
  • SHELL Indonesia (Netherland)
  • BAKER HUGHES Indonesia (USA)
  • SCHLUMBERGER Indonesia (USA)
  • THIESS Indonesia (Australia)
  • and many mores…

The Most Prime Banks in Balikpapan

  • Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI)
  • Bank MANDIRI
  • Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI)
  • Bank CIMB
  • Bank MAYBANK
  • Bank MUAMALAT Indonesia
  • Bank BUKOPIN
  • Bank Danamon
  • ICBC Bank
  • QATAR National Bank
  • ANZ Bank
  • and many mores…