East Timor moves to collect taxes owed to it by oil companies

12 July 2012

The government of the Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) has started legal action against a number of international oil groups, including Conoco-Phillips, in order to recover taxes that the government says have not been paid, according to a statement issued Tuesday in Dili.

Explaining the legal action based on the oil companies’ legal obligations resulting from production contracts signed for the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA), the statements aid that the East Timor government had hired lawyer and US ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper to advise it and to represent the country on issues related to investments and development of infrastructure in the oil sector.

Following audits carried out by the Timorese authorities 28 evaluations were carried out against oil companies, and the secretary of state for Natural Resources, Alfredo Pires said that the debt was of “hundred of million or possible even billions.”

According to the terms of the JPDA, 90 percent of revenues belong to East Timor and the remaining 10 percent to Australia, and Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper called on agents of the Australian Tax Office to carry out audits to establish the amount of taxes paid so far. (macauhub)