Gas pipeline link in Timor Sea is “vital” for East Timor

22 March 2010

Lisbon, Portugal, 22 March – The link up of the gas pipeline from the Greater Sunrise oil field, under dispute with Australia, is vital for the development of East Timor, the Timorese Economy and Development Minister said in Lisbon Sunday.

On the sidelines of the 1st meeting of Sea Affairs Ministers of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, which took place Sunday on the outskirts of Lisbon, the Timorese minister said he hoped a decision would be reached on this issue this year.

“The gas pipeline is extremely important for the economic development of our country and we continue to insist with the Woodside company to bring the pipeline to East Timor,” he said.

The “Greater Sunrise” oil field, located in the Timor Sea, has its prospecting rights shared by East Timor and Australia.

The treaty signed stipulates that the two countries must reach an agreement on a joint development plan by 2013. However, the east Timor government has thus far refused all proposals presented by the consortium headed up by Australian company Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

Woodside, which heads up a consortium also made up of Royal Dutch/Shell, Osaka Gas and ConocoPhillips, has argued that transporting resources by pipeline to a processing unit in Darwin (Australia), some 500 kilometres away, is the more commercially-viable option, whilst also having looked into the possibility of a floating platform.

However, East Timor wants the pipeline to be linked up to its coast, which is a third of the distance of that to Darwin, in northern Australia.

The East Timor government has been seeking commercial partners to develop a national petrochemical industry, which, according to the government would drive economic growth and help to reduce unemployment in the country. (macauhub)