Construction of gas pipeline in East Timor may begin in next few months

20 August 2009

Pretoria, South Africa, 20 Aug – The gas pipeline and gas processing unit, linking the Timor Sea to East Timor, are viable and the project is expected to begin within the next few months, the East Timor Foreign Affairs Minister said in Pretoria, South Africa Wednesday.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency during an official visit to South Africa, Zacarias da Costa said that the study carried out by East Timor and Malaysian oil company Petronas had shown the technical feasibility of the project, which had disproved all of those who had doubts about its profitability.

“We carried out surveys together with the Malaysians linked to Petronas and proved that the project is technically viable and commercially we also proved it is viable because there are some large groups such as Korea’s Akor-Gas, available to buy all the gas that is extracted from Greater Sunrise [block in the Timor Sea] and the Chinese themselves are available to invest not only in the gas pipeline but also in the gas processing unit,” Costa said.

Costa noted that political instability, which was the argument used by Australia for teh gas pipeline to be linked to Darwin, had been eliminated as the situation in East Timor “is stable and secure, more secure than in many Australian cities, which puts the final decision in the hands of the operators.”

“The consortium would need the go-ahead from two governments and that is what we are waiting for, but everything leads us to believe that if not by the end of the year, then in the first half of 2010 we will have a decision,” Costa concluded. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH