Among those held back was the chief executive officer of Australian mining company Woodside, Don Voelte.
The executives from the Woodside-led consortium were in East Timor to discuss the Greater Sunrise gas fields in the Timor Sea.
One of the protest organisers Vincente Mauboce said several hundred protesters stopped the executives leaving the airport's V-I-P lounge until they agreed to a meeting.
"I said, well we want to meet with CEO of Woodside, if they don't allow us to meet with them they can go back. So at the end after two hours of negotiations they allow us to meet with Mr Don Voelte."
A spokesman for Woodside says 75 to 100 people were waiting at the airport when the joint venture representatives arrived, but says the executives were not delayed for more than 10 to 15 minutes.