Significant disputed petroleum resources, worth tens of billions of dollars, lie beneath the Timor Sea. Despite these resources lying closer to East Timor than Australia, both countries are staking a claim on the proceeds.
No maritime boundary has ever existed between Australia and East Timor: a boundary drawn in accordance with contemporary International law would deliver all of the resources on East Timor's side of the median line to East Timor.
The Australian Government is stalling the negotiations and bullying the East Timorese Government to give up billions of dollars' worth of entitlements. In the meantime, Australia is unilaterally depleting oil fields in disputed areas and taking all of the government revenues.
East Timor is unable to take the matter to an international arbitration because two months before East Timor’s independence, Australia suddenly and secretly withdrew from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.
The Timor Sea Justice Campaign is demanding that the Australian Government gives East Timor a fair go.
We call on the Australian Government to:
|1.||Stop unilaterally exploiting contested gas and oil resources in the Timor Sea.|
|2.||Place disputed revenues taken by the Australian Government into a trust fund to be distributed accordingly when the dispute is resolved.|
|3.||Immediately negotiate a permanent maritime boundary with East Timor in accordance with current principles of International Law.|
|4.||Re-submit to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea to settle the dispute by independent arbitration if necessary.|
Timor Sea Oil and Gas Resources
|•||Oil and gas worth more than US $30 billion lie under the Timor Sea, between East Timor and Australia (the equivalent of approximately 4840 million Barrels of Oil).|
|•||68% of the petroleum resources in the part of the Timor Sea between Australia and East Timor lie closer to East Timor than to Australia, and are claimed by East Timor under International Law.|
|•||Under current revenue sharing arrangements, Australia would take 72% of the petroleum revenues from this part the Timor Sea, including almost 60% of the revenues from fields closer to East Timor than to Australia.|
|•||If maritime boundaries were established in accordance with current principles of international law it is estimated that East Timor would receive around 68% of the total petroleum revenues in the Timor Sea, including up to 100% of those closer to East Timor than to Australia. Australia would receive 100% from those closer to Australia than to East Timor, plus some additional fields already conceded to them by Indonesia but outside East Timor's territory.|
|•||If maritime boundaries were established in accordance with current principles of international law it is estimated that East Timor would receive around US $12 billion, while under current interim arrangements, East Timor expects to receive just US $4.4 billion|
|•||Australia, therefore, stands to profit to the tune of over US $7 billion at the expense of East Timor. This amount includes an estimated US $1.5 - 2 billion already collected by Australia since 1999.|