Subject: SMH: East Timor Eyes Oil, Gas Expansion

Sydney Morning Herald
June 6, 2005

East Timor Eyes Oil, Gas Expansion

East Timor will soon start opening up its untapped oil and gas
reserves to investors, the Timorese government says.

A major oil and gas conference in Darwin has heard that the fledgling
democracy hoped to offer licences by mid 2006 after conducting the
first comprehensive seismic survey of 6,600km of Timor's undisputed
maritime area in February.

Talks now underway to try to end the protracted dispute over maritime
boundaries between Australia and East Timor are making progress amid
high hopes of early settlement, Timor Sea Office director Manuel de
Lemos said.

He told the conference that several international companies had
already expressed interest in the data, which is expected to be
processed by July.

"We have had a lot of interest from the industry to come to Timor,"
said Mr de Lemos, an official from the Office of the Prime Minister.

New petroleum laws which are expected to be passed by the East
Timorese in July will create a competitive and stable legal regime for
investment, Mr de Lemos said.

Then the results will be exhibited in international centres such as
Singapore, Houston and London, with offers of investment opportunities
in the first quarter of 2006 and contracts awarded in the second
quarter of 2006.

"After we have all of the petroleum legislation in place, then we will
conduct an international road show," he told reporters.

"We aim to explain to industry about what is our new legal regime,
what is our new fiscal regimes and why Timor Leste (East Timor) want
to attract investors."

Mr de Lemos said there were dozens of onshore oil and gas seeps in East Timor.

Meanwhile, East Timor was still in negotiations over revenue sharing
from the Greater Sunrise gas field, he said.

Mr de Lemos, who has been involved in talks with Canberra to try to
end the dispute over maritime boundaries, which has stalled major oil
development work, said good progress had been made.

"It's progress, we have a very good progress with the Australian
government but we still need to work a few more things in detail," he

"Up until now there is still no agreement but we do have a progress in
negotiation if you compared to what happened in a couple of
negotiations before."

Mr de Lemos presented an address at the South East Asia Australian
Offshore Conference in Darwin.



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