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Council of Ministers, Timor-Leste Government, New legal regime for Timor-Leste oil and gas investment, 17 December 2004

The Council of Ministers of the Timor-Leste Government yesterday officially approved a competitive and transparent legal regime for the development of the new nation's known and potential petroleum resources.

The proposed regime will enable Timor-Leste to work with qualified companies to develop petroleum resources in onshore and offshore areas outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area, established by the Timor Sea Treaty. To date, Timor-Leste has benefited only from petroleum development in the JPDA.

The approval of the regime follows several months of consultation with the community in Timor-Leste, and industry, on a complete draft of the legal regime.

The new petroleum regime approved by the Council of Ministers comprises:

" the Timor-Leste Petroleum Law
" a model production sharing contract (PSC) entered into under the Petroleum Law
" the Timor-Leste Petroleum Tax Law

The legislation is scheduled to be considered by the National Parliament over the next few weeks.

In addition, the Timor-Leste Government has developed in cooperation with the Australian Government a complementary legal code for the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA), comprising a Petroleum Mining Code and a related model PSC.

Mr. Grego?rio de Sousa, Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers, said the regime was a transparent, competitive and stable model for the development of the nation's oil and gas resources.

He commended the Prime Minister, Mari? Alkatiri on his role in guiding the development of the laws. He also thanked the team of national and international advisers who had worked hard to bring together a world class regime for this vitally important sector.

Mr. de Sousa said to date the Government had achieved a great deal in helping to develop the nation's petroleum resources.

The Council of Minister has given in-principle support to establishing a Petroleum Fund for the management of petroleum revenues, and legislation for this purpose is expected early next year.


Ministry of Development and Environment, Department of Mineral Resources & Energy Policy, Timor-Leste requests report on Timor Sea oil spill, 15 February 2005

The Government of Timor-Leste (East Timor) has written to Woodside Energy Ltd. requesting a detailed report on the recent oil spill at the Laminaria field in the Timor Sea.

Woodside reported on February 3 that a leak of about 300 barrels had occurred on January 18. The statement said that government authorities were notified immediately.

"The Timor-Leste Government has received no such notification from Woodside," said Mr. Jose? Teixeira, Secretary of State for Tourism, Investment and Environment.

"This is the second oil spill at this facility in three months, and in both cases we have received no information. Woodside claims that the January 18 oil spill had evaporated from the area two days after the spill. The Timor-Leste Government is concerned that we have received no independent assessment of these incidents and the impact on the environment.

"I have asked Woodside for a formal report and an outline of any remedial measures and further measures that are necessary to prevent any more spills re-occurring," Mr. Teixeira added.

The Laminaria field lies 150km off the southern coast of Timor-Leste in a disputed area - an area of overlapping claims between Timor-Leste and Australia. The Government of Timor-Leste considers this area to be under its maritime jurisdiction. The distance to the Australian coastline according to Woodside is 350km.

"Irrespective of the dispute, what has to be considered is the fact that occurrences such as this, with a potential impact on coastal and marine environments, are more likely to affect Timor-Leste than Australia," Mr. Teixeira said.

The Laminaria and adjacent Corallina fields have been in production since 1999. Woodside Energy Ltd. is the operator of the project. The Timor-Leste Government estimates that the fields have generated more than $2 billion in tax revenue paid to the Australian Government.

In a letter sent to Woodside in January last year the Government of Timor-Leste warned that failure to comply with relevant Timor-Leste laws governing petroleum activities will render Woodside Energy Ltd. liable to civil and criminal prosecution.


TSO Media Release: Timor-Leste completes highly successful seismic survey, 17 February 2005

Prime Minister Mari? Alkatiri said today that Timor-Leste was poised to commence independent development of its petroleum resources in the Timor Sea following the highly successful completion of a comprehensive seismic survey.

The Prime Minister was commenting after return to Dili today of the specialized seismic survey vessel MV Zephyr. The ship and its crew of 39, including 3 Timorese trainees, have collected 6,500km of seismic data over an area of 30,000 square km over the past seven weeks.

"This survey puts our new nation on a sound footing to develop petroleum resources in our own area of the Timor Sea. This data will shortly be made available for industry to bid for exploration rights," he said.
The Prime Minister said the survey marked Timor-Leste's first sovereign licensing round. To date all petroleum activities have been conducted with Australia in the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA), which was created by the Timor Sea Treaty.
The area covered by the survey extends from the southern coastline of Timor-Leste to the northern border of the JPDA.

The Prime Minister said this initiative indicated that Timor-Leste was determined to press ahead with the development of its own petroleum potential in onshore and offshore areas, and would not be distracted by the dispute with Australia.

He added that the Timor-Leste National Parliament was expected to pass soon a package of laws for the licensing of offshore and onshore development. A bidding round for onshore development rights could take place soon after the laws have been promulgated.

The seismic survey was conducted by the BGP-GGS consortium. BGP is owned by PetroChina and GGS is a Norwegian company. The Government received a number of bids in an open tender last year. BGP-GGS made a very competitive bid that also emphasized training of national staff.

Mr. Geir Ytreland, Dili-based manager of the Norwegian Government's Norad technical assistance project, said results of the survey had far exceeded expectations. It was completed ahead of schedule with an additional 500km of data produced on top of the specified 6,000km.

Mr. Ytreland said data would be available for acquisition by companies in April, and formal bidding for exploration rights will commence in June. The Government plans to award exploration rights at the end of 2005.

Mr. Ytreland, a geologist with 30 years' experience in the petroleum industry, said Timor-Leste is highly prospective in petroleum resources, both onshore and offshore.

"Many of the known oil-bearing rock formations in the prospective part of the Timor Sea are very similar to what is found in the North Sea. There are also indications of potentially large hydrocarbon resources in limestone reservoirs, similar to what is seen in the Middle East, he said.

"There are also dozens of onshore oil and gas seeps. This is indicative of deeper lying oil pools, derived from a petroleum system very similar to those found in the Timor Sea today," he added.

Information about forthcoming bid rounds can be found at www.timorseaoffice.gov.tp


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation: Talks on Timor Sea make unprecedented progress, 29 April 2005

The governments of Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Australia have made unprecedented progress in talks this week in Dili concerning the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea, said the Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Dr Jose? Ramos-Horta.

"The constructive approach adopted at this week's talks has led to very positive progress in resolving the Timor Sea dispute. This puts our two nations on the threshold of a new era in bilateral relations and economic cooperation.

"Finding ways to allow the development of petroleum resources will bring significant economic benefit to both nations. Timor-Leste, which is one of the poorest nations in the world, stands to benefit enormously from a final resolution," Dr Ramos-Horta said.

Dr Ramos-Horta was speaking after the conclusion of three days of talks in Dili between delegations from both countries. This was the fifth in an intensive series of meetings that have been ongoing since September last year. This meeting was by far the most productive, he added.

The talks have been focused on addressing the issues related to the overlapping maritime boundary claims in the Timor Sea between the two nations. Timor-Leste proposed a creative solution which may involve a resource sharing arrangement in lieu of hastily attempting to resolve the complex and sensitive issues involved in agreeing to a permanent maritime boundary.

"There are many details still to be worked through by the two sides. Another meeting will be held in the very near future, but I am confident that we are on the brink of securing an agreement to handle for a long period our competing claims in the Timor Sea and in turn unlock the enormous hydrocarbon potential of this region."

Dr Ramos-Horta also thanked and expressed appreciation for the vast amount of international support Timor-Leste had received on this issue. He noted, however, that some comments made by parties outside this process did not reflect the approach being taken by both governments. Dr Ramos-Horta is confident that the progress made in these negotiations will be welcomed by all concerned.

"I would like to personally acknowledge the leadership the two prime ministers, who played a decisive role in this week's progress. The letter sent to Prime Minister Howard by Prime Minister Alkatiri, and in turn the response from Prime Minister Howard, provided the basis for a constructive dialogue between the two parties.

"I would also like to acknowledge the role played by my good friend and counterpart, Foreign Minister Downer. We have had a close working relationship for many years and together we have been through great deal, particularly in 1999. I am pleased that our friendship and goodwill has prevailed despite having differences at times," he concluded.

 

 

 
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