Timor-Leste and Australia to sign border agreement on 6 March in New York

5 February 2018

Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Australia are due to sign the new maritime border treaty between the two countries on 6 March, but the model of exploration of the Greater Sunrise oil fields may not be resolved by that date, Portuguese news agency Lusa reported, citing sources familiar with the process.

The treaty places the border in the position advocated by Timor-Leste, which is, halfway between the two countries, just as Timor-Leste has always demanded.

This line almost definitively solves the border issues in the area, although Timor-Leste then needs to conclude the delimitation of other border areas, with Indonesia.

Teams from Timor-Leste, led by Xanana Gusmão, and Australia – whose delegation was led this time by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop – met last week in Sydney, Australia.

Three possible scenarios were up for discussion: a floating exploration – advocated by the oil companies that have the Greater Sunrise concession: Woodside, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Osaka Gas – the connection to the pipeline linking existing wells in the area to Darwin or a connection to the south of Timor-Leste.

The decision will determine the model of revenue sharing, with Timor-Leste receiving 70% if the pipeline comes to Timorese territory and 80% if it goes to Darwin, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The two sides will meet again in Kuala Lumpur for a week of meetings, from 19 to 24 February, and the commission’s work officially ends on 1 March. (macauhub)

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