13 November 2017

Timor-Leste, Australia and oil companies agree to share confidential information

East Timor Maritime Boundary Office Map of Timor Sea claimed by East Timor against Australia
Maritime Boundary Office
!WARNING! MACHINE TRANSLATION ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE TEXT LUSA - The Governments of Timor-Leste and Australia and representatives of oil companies with concession at the Greater Sunrise well Wednesday signed a confidential information sharing agreement for the project in the Timor Sea, sources close to the process said.

The agreement was signed on Wednesday after two days of meetings held in the Australian city of Brisbane and attended by delegations of the Governments of Australia and East Timor (in this case led by Xanana Gusmão) and the oil companies Woodside, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Osaka Gas, they explained to Lusa. [emphasis added]

"This is an agreement that allows the two parties to have access to the data room that has all the confidential information of the joint venture on the Greater Sunrise well and that can be accessed so that the two parties can defend their options," the source explained.

The Brisbane meetings - the first with the oil companies - are taking place in the framework of the negotiation process between Timor-Leste and Australia, under the auspices of a United Nations Conciliation Commission, for the delimitation of maritime boundaries that has been taking place for about a year .

At the end of August Timor-Leste and Australia initialed the agreement on the "core elements" of the delimitation of maritime borders and on the legal status for the development of the Greater Sunrise gas well in the Timor Sea.

This agreement, which will in the near future be transformed into a treaty to be signed between the countries, covers "the central elements of border boundary delimitation in the Timor Sea ... addresses the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field, the establishment of a special scheme for Greater Sunrise, a path to resource development and the resulting revenue sharing. "

The only pending issue has to do with how the gas is exploited, particularly with a pipeline to Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia, to the south coast of East Timor. The fate of this pipeline will determine how the resource revenues will be divided between the two countries.

The Greater Sunrise fields, located in 1974, contain estimated reserves of 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and are located in the Timor Sea, approximately 150 kilometers southeast of Timor-Leste and 450 kilometers northwest of Darwin, in Australia.

The Greater Sunrise concession is controlled by Woodside (the operator with 33%) in addition to ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Osaka Gas.

The confidential information sharing agreement was signed by Minister of State Agio Pereira, number two of the Timorese delegation, by a representative of the Australian Government and by those responsible for the oil companies.

"The data room will provide information on aspects such as reservations, prospects, technical studies and feasibility studies. This will allow Timor-Leste to use the information to defend its position in the negotiations," the source said.

"The agreement allows access and ensures the confidential use of limited information only on this issue," he explained.

The Timorese oil giant Timor Gap gave a presentation on the prospect of Timor LNG during the meetings in Brisbane, the pipeline to the south coast of the country and Joint Venture experts also gave a presentation on the other alternatives of exploitation.

On 16 November, the meeting of the members of the Conciliation Commission was held. In the first stage, the delegations of the two Governments and the five members of the Commission met, and later, in a second phase, the oil companies joined.

Meanwhile in Timor-Leste today a group of veterans and combatants fighting for independence and the Indonesian occupation signed a joint statement in support of Xanana Gusmao, the main negotiator of maritime borders and defending the option of a gas pipeline to Timor-Leste.

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