ConocoPhillips sells stake in Greater Sunrise fields to Timor-Leste government

3 October 2018

ConocoPhillips has sold to the East Timorese government its 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise oil fields for US$350 million, the Houston-based oil company said.

The deal, which was concluded in a round of talks in Bali, Indonesia, with the Timorese delegation headed by former President Xanana Gusmão and ConocoPhillips by its top Australian official, Chris Wilson, requires approval by the Council of Ministers and the parliament of Timor-Leste (East Timor), according to the statement from the US company.

Matt Fox, Executive Vice President of ConocoPhillips, acknowledged disagreements with the Timor-Leste government regarding the way the oil fields are being explored and said the 30% sale, “gives the Timorese government a significant stake in the development of the project.”

This deal, said the statement, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

An article recently published in the China-Lusophone Brief (CLBrief), a news service on China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, reports on a struggle between the Timor-Leste government and Australian company Woodside about the exploration model for the oil fields.

The article recalls that the Timorese government favours processing of oil and gas extracted from the Greater Sunrise fields in the southern part of the country, instead of on the northern coast of Australia, in order to kick off the industrialization of Timor-Leste and create jobs, obtaining economic benefits.

The companies involved in the Sunrise Partnership are Woodside (33.4%), operator, ConocoPhillips (30%), now sold to the government of Timor-Leste, Shell (26.6%) and Osaka Gas (10%).

The Greater Sunrise fields are almost entirely in the territorial waters of Timor-Leste under the new maritime border treaty signed in March with Australia, which has yet to be ratified by the parliaments of the two countries. (macauhub)