Subject: AU: E Timor touts oil spoils to tantalise explorers

The Australian

E Timor touts oil spoils to tantalise explorers

Nigel Wilson, Energy writer


EAST Timor has launched an international campaign to attract explorers to the Timor Sea in areas not in dispute with Australia.

A roadshow will begin next month to sell the results of 6600km of seismic data collected earlier this year that the East Timor Government claimed "revealed the presence of potential petroleum structures over the entire area".

East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said yesterday petroleum companies would be offered access to frontier opportunities "while working with a Government that has a proven track record in administering large-scale petroleum development".

East Timor has said previously the petroleum geology of the Timor Sea's undisputed area is "almost identical" to that of Australia's North West Shelf.

The announcement was made as continued haggling between Dili and Canberra has delayed the setting of a date for the formal signing of a revenue-sharing agreement between Australia and East Timor covering Timor Sea developments.

A date for the signing had been expected to be announced last month.

Sources in both countries said yesterday the agreement could see $13 billion in revenue being transferred from Australia to East Timor, if the Greater Sunrise project -- the largest known petroleum resource in the Timor Sea -- went ahead and was not under threat.

"We are still in discussions about the detail," a Canberra official said.

Last week, Dr Alkatiri was quoted in Dili's Timor Post saying his country was waiting for Australia to consider its response to the proposed agreement, saying the delay was caused by "technical problems".

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in May he believed there probably would be no further formal negotiations and that the two countries would be able to move towards signing an agreement.

In Perth yesterday, Don Voelte, managing director of Greater Sunrise operator, Woodside, said he also believed the discussions were about the detail.

Under the proposed government-to-government agreement, Australia and East Timor will split Greater Sunrise revenues 50:50 rather than the 80:20 originally proposed.

Back to August menu 
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu