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Reliance oil and gas exploration in TL's Exclusive Area
Reliance nia Esplorasaun mina-rai no gas iha Area Eskluzivu TL

10 September 2010.  Updated 20 January 2011

In 2006, the Government of Timor-Leste signed Production Sharing Contract S-06-06 with the Indian company Reliance Industries Limited, for "Block K" at the eastern edge of Timor-Leste's exclusive area, just north of the Greater Sunrise fields. Both RDTL and Reliance issued press releases, and the government published the bid evaluation report. Reliance was the only bidder for Block K. Reliance also bid for Block E (S06-04), but Eni's competing bid got the award, although Reliance scored higher than the Petronas Consortium for this block.

La'o Hamutuk has compiled several media articles about this project, covering the initial contract award, selling 25% of the joint venture to state-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, and Oil India Ltd, preparations for drilling, and recent problems with another Reliance/Transocean project.

We have also extracted information from the 2008 and 2009 Annual Reports of the National Petroleum Authority (ANP) to summarize recent regulatory activities on this contract area.

In early 2008, Reliance proposed a 2D/3D seismic survey of this area, and the RDTL National Directorate for Environment (DNMA) circulated their draft Environment Plan. La'o Hamutuk made a submission, urging the government to improve their laws and consultation procedures. We also pointed out a number of contractions and errors in Reliance's plan and suggested additional measures to protect marine fauna. Reliance conducted the seismic survey later that year, finding indications of commercial quantities of natural gas.

Reliance began to prepare for drilling test wells, requesting Expressions of Interest from drilling contractors in 2008 and 2009. They began to plan Exploratory Drilling in Block K including a 4,000 meter deep test well 112 km south-east of Timor-Leste's eastern tip. In mid-2010, they awarded the contract to Transocean, using the drillship Deepwater Frontier which has worked for Reliance in India for several years.

In June 2010, Reliance submitted a draft Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan to Timor-Leste's government for exploratory drilling. DNMA circulated it for public comment. La'o Hamutuk made a submission, concluding that "Lao Hamutuk does not believe that this EIA demonstrates that Reliance understands the risks, takes the responsibility, and has the capacity to conduct this exploration for the benefit of Timor-Lestes people. Therefore, we urge DNMA to reject this plan, and to order Reliance to rewrite it, correcting the deficiencies and filling in the gaps."

Our submission addressed these topics:

  • Reliance misunderstands DNMAs role.
  • Reliance has created a conflict of interest in Timor-Leste regulation.
  • This EIA is not specific, and Reliance should rewrite it.
  • This EIA includes much outdated, vague or inaccurate information.
  • The danger of huge oil spills and other accidents must be seriously considered.
  • Disposal of toxic and solid waste should be specified and planned.

Iha tinan 2006, Governu Timor-Leste asina Kontratu Fahe Produsaun S-06-06 ho Kompania India Reliance Industries Limites, ba Bloku K iha parte ninin loro sae husi Area Eskluzivu Timor-Leste, iha parte norte husi kampu Greater Sunrise. RDTL no Reliance hasae komunikadu imprensa, no governu publika sai relatoriu evalusaun ba tenderizasaun nian. Reliance nudar kompania ida deit maka tuir tenderizasaun ba Bloku K. Reliance mos tuir tenderizasaun ba Bloku E (S06-06), maibe Eni neebe tuir tenderizasun ida nee mak manan, maske Reliance nia valor as liu duke Petronas Consorsium ba bloku ida nee.

Lao Hamutuk halo kompilasaun ba artigu media (Ingles) balun kona-ba projeitu ida nee, kobre kontratu neebe hetan iha inisiu, fan 25% husi konsorsium nian ba Kompania nasional Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, no Oil India Ltd, preparasaun ba perfurasaun, no problema dadauk ho projeitu seluk Reliance/Transocean.

Ami mos hetan informasaun husi Relatoriu Anual Autoridade Nasional Petroleu (ANP) 2008 no 2009 atu halo rezumu ba aktividade regulador nian foin dadauk nele ba iha area kontratu ida nee.

Iha inisiu 2008, Reliance proposta survey seizmiku 2D/3D ida ba area ida nee no Diresaun Nasional Meiu-Ambiente (DNMA) fahe Reliance nia esbosu Planu Ambiental nian. Lao Hamutuk halo submisaun ida ezizi ba governu atu haforsa sira nia lei no prosedimentu konsultasaun nian. Ami mos foka sai numeru kontradiksaun no erru iha planu Reliance nian no suzere medidas adisional atu proteze fauna marina nian. Reliance halao ona survey seizmiku hafoin tinan 2008, hetan indikasaun ba kuantidade komersial gas natural.

Reliance hahu atu prepara hodi halo perfurasaun esperimental ba posu sira, husu ekspresaun ba interese husi kontrator perfurasaun iha 2008 no 2009. Sira hahu planu atu halao perfurasaun eksplorasaun nian iha Bloku K inklui posu esperimental ho klean metru 4000, kilometru 112 husi sudeste Timor-Leste nia parte lorosa'e. Iha mediu-2010, sira fo kontratu ba Transocean, uza ro perfurasaun Deepwater Frontier neebe servisu ba Reliance iha India ba tinan balun.

Iha Junu 2010, Reliance hatama esbosu Deklarasaun Impaktu Ambiental (AIA) no Planu Jestauin ida ba governu Timor-Leste hodi halo perfurasaun esplorasaun. DNMA fahe dokumentus ne hodi hetan komentariu husi publiku. Lao Hamutuk halo submisaun ida no mos hakerek artigu ida ba jornal lokal, Tempo Semanal no Timor Post, konklui katak Lao Hamutuk la fiar katak Avaliasaun Impaktu Ambiental ida nee demonstra Reliance nian komprendesaun ba risku, foti responsabilidade no iha kapasidade atu halao eksplorasaun hodi benefisia povo Timor-Leste. Tamba nee ami ezizi ba DNMA atu rejeita planu ida nee, no husu ba Reliance atu hakerek fila fali dokumentus ida nee, halo koresaun ba buat balun neebe seidauk kompletu.

Ami nia submisaun koalia topiku sira nee:

  • Reliance la komprende DNMA nia knar
  • Reliance kria konflitu ba interese ida iha regulasaun Timor-Leste
  • AIA nee la spesifiku, no Reliance tenke hakerek fila dali.
  • AIA nee inklui informasaun sira neebe tuan, la klaru no la loos.
  • Perigu ba mina fakar neebe boot no asidente sira seluk tenke hetan konsiderasaun ida neebe seriu.
  • Soe foer toxiku no foer solidu tenke spesifika no planeadu.

Click on any image to see it larger.
Hili imajen ruma hodi haree boot liu.

Transocean Deepwater Frontier drilling ship / ro fura.

Block K, showing water depths. / Bloku K, hatudu bee nia klean.

This article "Reliance's driling proposal endangers the environment, government should reject EIS report" summarizes our submission and was published in the Timor Post and Tempo Semanal on 27 and 30 July 2010
Artigu ida ne'e fo sumario submisaun LH nian, no publika ona iha Timor Post no Tempo Semanal loron 27 no 30 Jullu 2010

Two months later, Reliance wrote responses to La'o Hamutuk and other submissions, although as of 9 September they have not received instructions or approval from DNMA. Nevertheless, they hope to mobilize the Deepwater Frontier on 19 September, and to begin drilling in October. However, Reliance representatives orally promised La'o Hamutuk that they will not proceed without DNMA approval, notwithstanding their claim in the EIS that if DNMA does not respond to an EIS proposal in 75 days, it is legally considered accepted.

The Reliance exploratory well will be drilled by Transocean, the same company that managed the well involved in the April 2010 BP disaster at Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico. In May 2010, technical problems forced Reliance to suspend drilling with the Transocean Deepwater Expedition rig at the KGV-D3-W1 exploration well in India, and to look for an alternative rig.

Although the Reliance well in Block K is smaller diameter than the Macondo well and does not plan to extract gas or oil, it involves similar water and drilling depths. This summary of the similarities and differences between the two projects shows the importance of effective regulation and operation in preventing future disasters.

Reliance received DNMA and ANP approval to proceed with this test drilling, and the Deepwater Frontier drilled its well in late December 2010, but commercial quantities of oil or gas were not found. As Reliance's PSC obligated them to drill only one well, they are withdrawing from Timor-Leste.

Fulan rua depois, Reliance hakerek resposta ba submisaun Lao Hamutuk no submisaun sira seluk, maske nunee to ona iha loron 9 fulan Setembru sira seidauk hetan instruksaun ka aprovasaun husi DNMA. Maske nune'e, sira hakarak mobiliza ro Deepwater Frontier iha loron 19 Setembru, no hahu perfurasaun iha fulan Outubru. Maibe reprezentante Reliance nian promete oralmente ba Lao Hamutuk katak sira sei labele kontinua sein aprovasaun husi DNMA, maske sira nia afirmasaun iha AIA katak karik DNMA la responde ba proposta Avaliasaun Impaktu Ambiental iha loron 75 nia laran, legalmente dokumentus ida nee konsidera simu ona.

Posu esplorasaun Reliance nian sei fura husi Transocean, kompania ida neebe hanesan neebe jere posu ida neebe involve iha dezastre BP nian iha Macondo iha Golfu Mexico iha fulan Abril 2010. Iha Maiu 2010, problema teknika halo Reliance hodi suspende perfurasaun ho aparelhu Transocean Deepwater Expedition iha posu esplorasaun KGV-D3-W1 iha India, no hodi buka aparelhu alternative ida seluk.

Mesmu posu Reliance nian iha Bloku K nia diameter natoon duke posu Macondo no laiha planu atu halo ekstrasaun ba gas ka mina-rai, posu nee iha bee no perfurasaun nia klean neebe hanesan. Rezumu husi similaridade no diferensia entre projeitu rua ida nee hatudu importansia husi regulasaun ida neebe efektivu ba prevensaun dezastre iha futuru.

Reliance halo posu iha fulan Dezembru no Janeiru, maible la hetan gas ka mina iha kuantidade komersial.

Oil field

Kampu mina-rai

Block K
(Timor Sea)
(Tasi Timor)
Macondo Prospect
(Gulf of Mexico, USA)
(Tasi Mexico, USA)
Oil companyKompania mina-raiReliance & partners IOC and OILBP
Drilling contractorKontrator neebe furaTransoceanTransocean
Drilling rigEkipamentu fura nianDeepwater FrontierDeepwater Horizon
When drilling rig was builtHorik-Bainhira mak harii Ekipamentu fura nian1999 by/husi R&B/Samsung, Korea1991 by/husi Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea
Distance from landDistansia husi rai maran112 km77 km
Water depthTasi nia klean1,246 m1,500 m
Planned well depth (below seabed)Posu nia klean neebe planea (husi rai iha tasi okos)2,800 m4,000 m
Estimated flow rate (barrels/day)Estimasaun ba rata-rata baril neebe suli/loron 053,000-62,000 (rate of spill)
53,000-62,000 (rata-rata mina-neebe fakar)
Area contaminated by spillArea kontaminadu husi mina-rai neebe fakar > 250,000 km2
Distance travelled by spillDistansia fakar nian > 1,000 km
The websites of the National Petroleum Authority and the State Secretariat for Natural Resources also contain information about this project, although they are not updated very often.

This page will be updated regularly as the project evolves, and La'o Hamutuk welcomes any additional information or comments.

Website Autoridade Nasional Petroleu no Sekretariadu Estadu ba Rekursu Nasturais mos iha informasaun sobre projeitu ida nee, maske sira la atualiza be-beik.

Pajina ida nee sei atualiza regularmente tuir projeitu nia lalaok, no Lao Hamutuk prontu atu simu informasaun adisional ka komentariu ruma.


The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (Lao Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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