Timor-Leste launches international auction for oil exploration

21 October 2005

Dili, Timor-Leste, 21 Nov – Thirty six oil and consulting companies, including some from Portugal and one from Brazil are planning to compete for oil exploration in Timor-Leste, officials have said.

The companies that will explore the 11 blocs up for tender will be announced in around eight months’ time. The pre-qualification period began on November 17.

The auction of 11 blocs will begin in March 2006 and the government of Timor-Leste aims to have the first exploration contracts signed by June 15, 2006.

A consortium set up by Portugal’s Galp Energia and Brazil’s Petrobrás, announced it will bid for the exploration of one deep water bloc in the sea off Timor-Leste.

ENSUL and lawyers Coelho Ribeiro e Associados are also interested in making a bid.

The blocs awaiting bids are located in Timor’s exclusive economic zone, outside the area disputed by Australia, and which specialists believe to hold very high quality oil, as well as natural gas.

Seismic studies carried out by the Chinese-Norwegian consortium made up of Petro-China and Norway’s Geo Global Services have identified more than 20 potential oil and gas deposits in the Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste is one of the poorest countries in the world and the poorest in Southeast Asia, although investments in the energy sector could change that.

This is the first time that companies have been able to bid for exploration rights for oil resources under the jurisdiction of Timor-Leste. (macauhub)