24 August 2009

Prime Minister Gusmao on the anniversary of the East Timor Petroleum Authority

SPEECH BY H.E. MR. KAY RALA XANANA GUSMAO PRIME MINISTER OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE

OPENING OF THE NATIONAL SEMINAR MARKING THE 1ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE AUTORIDADE NACIONAL DO PETRÓLEO (ANP) TIMOR-LESTE

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Hall 22 August 2009

Excellency, Prosecutor-General of the Republic
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Members of the Government
President of the ANP and Directors
Representatives of the Oil and Gas Companies
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to be here with you today to open this one-day seminar entitled “The Road to be a Leading Regulatory Authority in the Region”, marking the 1st Anniversary of the Autoridade Nacional do Petróleo or known simply as ANP.

Around this same time a year ago, I was pleased to inaugurate the opening of the new office for this institution at the east wing of the Palácio do Governo, and witnessed the swearing-in of a very highly motivated young Timorese, who assumed the leadership of this organisation.

High expectations were given to this organisation, which administers one of the most important resources of the country- petroleum resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Staff of the ANP,

In June 2008, the Council of Ministers approved a Decree-Law that established this very institution, vested with administrative and financial independence. The Institute was to formally take office on 1st July 2008, on the day when the previous Timor Sea Designated Authority ceased to exist by force of the arrangements in the Timor Sea Treaty. The ANP was created as a public institute supervised by the Secretary of State for Natural Resources and falls within the regime of indirect public administration. The ANP is only one part of this Government’s reform policies for this sector. There are plans to also establish the National Oil Company as well as the Institute of Petroleum and Geology.

But we are here today to reflect on one year of the ANP.

Congratulations to you all at the ANP for this first anniversary.

You have come a long way.

One year of existence as an organisation is relatively short. But I am aware of the challenges that you have faced as an organisation and/or as individuals working in the ANP from day one. Being young (mostly young graduates), your first challenge is how to work within the expectations and overcome the perceptions about being too young for such important jobs and responsibilities. This was not only the public’s perceptions. There were comments that “ANP will not succeed if the Government proceeds with its establishment and place young Timorese in the
top leadership positions”. In fact there were cynical voices saying “the petroleum industry will fall into pieces within two weeks, if ANP take over the activities”.

You have proved everyone wrong!

You have all proved to the people of Timor-Leste that you can administer an industry that is very complex and sophisticated.

You have shown that with the trust and appropriate delegation of responsibility and continuing support and assistance from the Government, an institution such as yours can perform its tasks and duties very well.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear ANP staff,

Today is your day - a day for celebration. It is also a day for reflection, hence the reason for this seminar. Reflecting on the past is a very important thing to do. As an organisation, one year is very good timing for reflection. ANP as an institute must reflect on its contributions to the State, contributions to the People, and contribution to the development of the organisation.

The Government is very pleased to have had the petroleum sector managed and administered by the ANP under the supervision of the Secretary of State for Natural Resources.

Over the past year under the ANP administration, Timor-Leste has continued to receive a great deal of revenue. Thanks to not only the high oil prices but also for your prudent and careful monitoring and control of the petroleum activities. I am aware that a number of oil and gas exploration activities are currently being undertaken in the Timor-Leste’s offshore jurisdiction areas and in the JPDA. These are important activities to be technically managed and monitored. The ANP should always strive to strengthen its monitoring capacity and expertise. In all these activities however, one very important aspect of all is how to develop those resources so that it contributes to the overall economic development of the country. The oil and gas sector must contribute to the creation of jobs and business opportunities as stipulated in the policies and programs of the Government on this sector.

I understand that the ANP will carry out the administration and management of the resources not only in the Timor-Leste’s jurisdiction area but also in the JPDA. Following my message a year ago, I urge the ANP to manage the resources in this area carefully and prudently for the benefit of the two countries. As Australia has benefited from previous developments, it is only fair that Timor-Leste should benefit, in a real sense, from the petroleum developments to come.

I have no doubt that as a new organisation, you will face a lot more challenges and hard work ahead of you. However, with constant perseverance, reflecting on your experiences of the past year and willingness to continue learning new things, you will succeed.

On this note, I now take great pleasure in declaring this Seminar open!

Thank you.
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