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PM to discuss greater sunrise development with his Australian counterpart, next week

PM to discuss greater sunrise development with his Australian counterpart, next week

Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak (Image Tatoli/Francisco Sony)

DILI, 02 february 2022 (TATOLI) – Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak will depart for Australia on february 8 to have a face-to-face meeting with the Australian government to discuss the development of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea.

“In today’s meeting, we discuss with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak on Timor-Leste’s cooperation with the Australian government on the progress of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field project,” Minister of Petroleum and Minerals, Víctor da Conceição Soares told reporters after having a meeting with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak in his residence in Dili, on wednesday.

Soares said the discussion on the joint development, exploitation, and management of Petroleum in the Greater Sunrise Fields for the benefit of both Parties had been carried out via email and zoom meetings.

“So far, dialogues between Australia and Timor-Leste on a number of documents for the development of greater sunrise were going well. These documents include Petroleum Mining Code (PMC), Production Sharing Contract (PSC), and the Greater Sunrise Special Regime,” he said.

“First, we need a face-to-face meeting to have a discussion on the development of the greater sunrise between the two States (Timor-Leste and Australia), and then we could proceed to the next discussion between Timor GAP, Woodside Petroleum, and Osaka Gas,” said Soares.

He said a team of the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals (MoPM) would fly with Prime Minister Ruak to Australia: “I have informed Prime Minister that MoPM’s team would depart for Australia with the Prime Minister just in case if his excellency needs MoPM’s support during the meeting in Australia.”

The Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea has been the subject of exploration, controversy, and negotiations since it was discovered in 1974

The Government of Timor-Leste, on april 16, 2019, spent US$650 million on purchasing the Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips stakes in the Greater Sunrise natural gas fields of the South of the country, which gave Timor Gap, the National Oil Company of Timor-Leste, a 56.56 percent interest in the Greater Sunrise fields alongside continuing partners, Woodside (operator) with 33.44% interest and Osaka Gas with 10%.

It is estimated that the field contains 5.13 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas and 226 million barrels of condensate (oil), which some analysts believe will sell for about US$50 billion. After paying for capital investment, operating costs, and company profit, this might generate US$5-20 billion in tax and royalty revenue to Timor-Leste. If Timor-Leste becomes a part-owner of the project, it will share in the profits, as well as in the responsibility for investment. It is not clear that the benefits to Timor-Leste will be more than the costs, said on the Timor-Gap website.

Following the new treaty that has been shifting the Greater Sunrise project into Timor-Leste jurisdiction, Timor-Leste took 70% of the revenue from the joint venture and Australia 30% under the new agreement, or Timor-Leste will still get 80% of the revenues if the pipeline goes to Australia.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafy Belo


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