Timor-Leste state company seeks funding under the China Belt and Road initiative

14 May 2019

Timor Gap is negotiating with China to provide financing for the construction of the new port of Beaço, a facility that is part of the Greater Sunrise project, said the chairman of the state oil company.

Francisco Monteiro also told Portuguese news agency Lusa that commercial negotiations are underway to secure the credit needed to build the port, which is estimated to cost US$943 million, and that the company “will not depend on the State Budget.”

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation announced on 26 April the signing of a contract with Timor Gap for the construction of the new port that will be part of the new natural gas processing unit in Beaço, in the south of Timor-Leste.

The company, a subsidiary of China’s state-owned construction company China Railway Construction Corporation, said in a statement issued on the Shanghai Stock Exchange that it will receive about US$943 million for the project and construction of the port.

The statement also said that Timor Gap will have to secure funding for the project before the works, which are expected to take four years, can begin.

Monteiro told the news agency that the contract is part of a “different” process to traditional public procurement, as part of “long-standing negotiations between Timor Gap and the company within the scope of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.”

According to Timor Gap, the Port of Beaço will “allow the unloading of materials during construction,” of both the gas pipeline, which will bring the natural gas from the Greater Sunrise oil fields, and of a liquefied natural gas processing plant.

On 16 April Timor-Leste acquired a controlling stake in the Greater Sunrise consortium for US$650 million to move ahead with the gas and oil and natural gas pipeline project on the south coast of the country.

The Greater Sunrise fields contain estimated reserves of 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and are located in the Timor Sea, approximately 150 kilometres southeast of Timor-Leste and 450 kilometres northwest of Darwin, Australia. (Macauhub)