DILI, 07 july 2022 (TATOLI) – Timorese Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak has publicly declared that the Greater Sunrise oil and gas should be piped to develop onshore Timor-Leste.
Prime Minister made the comments in response to the statement previously made by the Chief Executive Officer of Woodside Energy, Meg O’Neill that the development of Sunrise oil and gas in onshore Timor-Leste is not viable.
“It’s normal for Woodside to defend its interest, but we also maintain our position that the development of the Greater Sunrise in Timor-Leste is viable,” said Ruak. “The gas and oil from the Bayu-Undan field were developed in Australia. So, to be fair for both parties, we have agreed to develop the Greater Sunrise in Timor-Leste.”
Last week, in a meeting with his Australian Counterpart Madeleine King, the Timorese Minister for Petroleum and Minerals, Víctor da Conceição reaffirmed Timor-Leste’s position that the development of Greater Sunrise in Timor-Leste is viable and that is the sole option for Timor-Leste to proceed with the project.
Conceição said Timor-Leste has access to international financial agencies that are willing to finance the Sunrise onshore project.
The President of the National Petroleum and Minerals Authority (ANPM), Florentino Soares Ferreira has earlier revealed that the authorities are currently working on regulatory frameworks, including the Greater Sunrise Special Regime, and the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) term, which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2022: “We have established the definitive maritime borders with Australia, that’s why we need to develop a single PSC.”
Ferreira emphasized that Timor-Leste and Santos have agreed to utilize the Darwin LNG for the Carbon Storage Project, saying, therefore, reusing existing infrastructure in northern Australia is not the preferred option for the development of the Sunrise project.
In 2018, Timor-Leste bought out Shell and ConocoPhillips with US$650 million intending to build a greenfield onshore LNG export facility in Timor-Leste.
“We are in a different situation compared to 20 years ago. Now, Timor-Leste national oil company Timor GAP holds 56.56% after buying out Shell and ConocoPhillips, Japan’s Osaka Gas holds the balance of 10% and Woodside has a 33.44% stake in Greater Sunrise,” he said.
Timor-Leste’s national oil company TIMOR GAP, E.P. which is the major shareholder of the project has secured some potential buyers in the region and beyond – hence, Timor-Leste sees that Greater Sunrise Development in Timor-Leste is a viable option and that is the only option for Timor-Leste to proceed the project.
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 for 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 Timor-Gap.
Journalist: Filomeno Martins
Editor: Nelia Borges