Subject: AFP: Start of gasfield production welcomed
Start of gasfield production welcomed
Dili February 13, 2004
Production has begun at an offshore gasfield which is expected to earn impoverished East Timor more than $US100 million ($A127.11 million) a year, a government statement said.
The Timor Sea Office said operator ConocoPhillips confirmed a regular flow of "wet gas" from the wells of the Bayu-Undan field in the Timor Sea.
"The start of production is an historic milestone in Timor-Leste's (East Timor's) struggle for economic independence," Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri was quoted as saying.
"The Bayu-Undan project is expected to provide a significant source of revenue to our economy over the next 20 years, averaging more than $US100 million ($A127.11 million) a year."
East Timor was Asia's poorest nation when it became independent in May 2002.
The Bayu-Undan joint venture has invested $US1.8 billion ($A2.29 billion) in the first phase of production.
A treaty between neighbouring Australia and the new nation created the Joint Petroleum Development Area in part of the Timor Sea, within which Bayu-Undan is located.
East Timor earns 90 per cent of the tax and royalty revenues from companies working in the area.
The statement said Bayu-Undan contains estimated recoverable reserves of 400 million barrels of condensate (light oil) and liquefied petroleum gas, and 102 billion cubic metres of natural gas.
It is about 250km south of East Timor and 500km northwest of Darwin.
Platforms will process "wet gas" in the first development phase. Condensate, together with propane and butane, will be separated and shipped while dry gas will be reinjected into the reservoir.
The dry gas will be recovered and piped to Darwin during the second phase expected to begin in early 2006.
The statement said ConocoPhillips and its partners have signed contracts for the sale of nearly all the natural gas reserves with Tokyo Gas and Tokyo Electric.
Australia and East Timor are still in dispute about exploiting a larger gasfield called Greater Sunrise. Dili wants speedier negotiations on the maritime border between the two countries, the key to who receives the bulk of the future revenue.
Support ETAN, make a secure financial contribution at etan.org/etan/donate.htm