East Timor may explore natural gas in Timor Sea on its own

22 February 2013

East Timor may carry out its natural gas exploration in the Timor Sea without other partners, thus bringing an end to its partnership with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum, the Timorese Minister for Oil and Mining Resources, Alfredo Pires said Thursday in Dili.

Differences of opinion between the two sides about the strategy to be adopted for the liquefaction of the natural gas in the Greater Sunrise block of the Timor Sea, with East Timor planning to build a gas pipeline to process the gas in Timor itself and Woodside Petroleum calling for setting up a processing platform at sea.

“We may decide to move ahead on our own but that is something that will have to be decided along with the Australian Foreign Ministry,” said Pires.

The minister also said that his government was in discussions with Australia’s Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, who visited Dili Thursday.

An agreement to share the resources in the Timor Sea signed by Australia and East Timor in February 2007 is due to come to an end Saturday, but may be revised at a later date if the two sides reach a new agreement or establish new sea borders.

The government of East Timor, which has been an independent country since 2002, plans for the gas processing unit to be built within the country and the companies associated to it to be a starting point for the country’s economic development. (macauhub)