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Prime Minister
Timor-Leste Government

MEDIA RELEASE

STATEMENT ON OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT IN TIMOR-LESTE

29 August 2004

The Government of Timor-Leste (East Timor) is on track to promulgate by Christmas a regime for the development of petroleum resources in Timor-Leste, said Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Mari Alkatiri.

Prime Minister Alkatiri was speaking after a three day public consultation meeting last week in Dili (August 23-25) on laws and model contracts that will make up this regime. This will be followed by consultation meetings in district centres over a two week period, and complemented by any written submissions received on the regime, including from industry.

“The comments provided at the consultation meeting will be carefully considered and will help the Government to refine the draft set of laws. The feedback we received was very positive and I believe we will be able to meet our deadline of having the regime in place by Christmas.”

“The proposed regime is a competitive, transparent and stable model for the development of oil and gas resources.”

What is before the public is a revised regime for the offshore area jointly managed with the Australian Government, as well as a new regime for other Timor-Leste areas, both onshore and offshore. 

“Once the new regime is in place, Timor-Leste hopes to begin exploration and development as soon as possible.”

“In this regard, I warmly welcome Australian Foreign Minister Downer’s willingness to resolve our maritime boundary dispute expeditiously by looking at creative solutions.  I have called for this over many months.”

Under current interim arrangements, Timor-Leste is forecast to earn approximately US$4 billion from known reserves.  Under a permanent maritime boundary set according to international law, Timor-Leste would be entitled to three times this amount.

“Mr Downer’s comments at the August 11 press conference marked an important recognition of Timor-Leste’s just claim to these revenues.”

“I am confident that a solution can be reached that reflects Timor-Leste’s rights in the Timor Sea under international law.  I hope that the September 20 talks in Canberra will be a constructive, productive and intensive session that will work towards a fair and equitable sharing of the Timor Sea resources.”

“In addition to the world-class legal and fiscal regime that Timor-Leste has articulated, Timor-Leste is committed to establishing international stability and continuity for the exploitation of Timor Sea oil and gas resources.  This is in the interest of all parties – the petroleum industry and Timor-Leste, and also our friend and neighbour Australia.”

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Enquiries: Paul Cleary +670 7234151

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua D. Alberto Ricardo, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
email: 
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