East Timor: South Korea to import gas from the Timor Sea as of 2013

15 October 2008

Dili, East Timor, 15 Oct – South Korea Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with East Timor to import natural gas from the Timor Sea as of 2013.

The memorandum was signed at the Government Palace, in Dili, by the Timorese prime minister, Xanana Gusmão, and by the South Korean economy minister, Lee Youn-ho.

This is the first energy agreement signed by the Timorese state with a foreign country since its independence in 2002, and is to guarantee imports by South Korea of natural gas from the Greater Sunrise field.

The agreement also includes the possibility of a consortium led by state company Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) surveying other gas fields in East Timor, according to the Korean minister.

With this agreement, South Korea will be given priority access to importing natural gas from the Greater Sunrise field, whose reserves are estimated at the equivalent of seven years of Korean consumption.

Signing the memorandum is part of the Government’s efforts to make it feasible to bring the Greater Sunrise gas pipeline to East Timor, as the country’s Natural Resources minister, Alfredo Pires told Portuguese news agency Lusa.

The location of the pipeline, along the East Timor coast or next to Darwin, Australia has yet to be decided and has led to discussion and contacts with Australia and some controversy between the authorities and companies from both countries.

The Greater Sunrise field is located in the Joint Oil Development Area, shared by East Timor and Australia.

South Korea is the world’s second largest importer of natural gas. (macauhub)