DILI: East Timor’s parliament ratified on 20 February a pact with Australia which carves up revenue rights from Timor Sea oil and gas deposits officials say are key to the tiny country’s economic independence.
The parliament passed the resolution over the Greater Sunrise gas field with 44 votes, allowing East Timor and Australia to split revenue from East Timor’s biggest gas resource 50-50.
Five were against the resolution while three abstained, East Timor deputy prime minister Stanislau da Silva told reporters.
“With this ratification East Timor and Australia should be able to carry out exploitation activity soon,” da Silva said.
Oil and gas producers had been waiting for the deal to be ratified before committing to develop Greater Sunrise, estimated to hold 8 trillion cubic feet of gas and up to 300 million barrels of condensate.
Greater Sunrise operator Woodside Petroleum Ltd. froze the $5 billion project in 2004 while waiting for Canberra and Dili to iron out their differences.
There was a dispute whether to build a liquefied natural gas processing plant for Greater Sunrise in East Timor and a pipeline to feed it the field’s production, or to send it to a plant being built in northern Australia.
In addition to Woodside, Greater Sunrise’s stakeholders include ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch/Shell and Japan’s Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. Woodside is 34 %-owned by Shell.