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Can the Petroleum Fund Exorcise the Resource Curse from Timor-Leste?

1 June 2014.  Updated 28 August 2014.

An earlier version of this paper, by La'o Hamutuk researcher Charles Scheiner, was presented (also PowerPoint) at the ANU Timor-Leste Update conference in Canberra in November 2013. A revised version will be published in the forthcoming book from that conference.  Download an updated PDF version of the paper, which may look better for printing.  The May 2014 version of the paper follows below, and is the basis for a two-page In Brief "The Resource Course in Timor-Leste" published by Australian National University

Click on any image to see it larger.



Oil and gas exports provide about 95% of state revenues and three-fourths of GDP, making Timor-Leste one of the most petroleum-dependent countries in the world. Although this has fuelled ‘double-digit GDP growth’ in the short term, poverty and inequality are increasing. Current development plans are unlikely to rescue Timor-Leste’s people from the ‘resource curse’ inflicted by its rentier economy, which distorts planning, governance, decision-making and politics, leading to neglect of non-petroleum investments, especially agriculture and human resources.

Income from exporting non-renewable petroleum wealth is channeled through a Petroleum Fund which contains US$15 billion. Although Timor-Leste’s currently active oil and gas fields will be dry by 2020, many believe that earnings from Petroleum Fund investments will continue to pay for state activities. Unfortunately, La’o Hamutuk’s model shows that the Petroleum Fund may be empty within five years after that.

The prospect that the Petroleum Fund could be gone in a decade underscores the urgency to develop Timor-Leste’s non-oil economy, increase domestic revenue and use public funds wisely. The Petroleum Fund may have created an illusion of economic security that enabled postponing difficult choices and challenging tasks.

Oil and gas comprised 77% of Timor-Leste’s GDP in 2011 (RDTL DGS 2013) and provided more than 96% of state revenues in 2013.[1] Income from exporting non-renewable petroleum wealth is channeled through the Petroleum Fund, which contains US$15 billion. People expect the Fund to finance state activities after the oil and gas fields are exhausted, which could happen within six years, but the Petroleum Fund may be empty by 2025. Timor-Leste has about a decade to use its finite oil resources to underpin long-term prosperity and development.

Oil swamps the economy.

Petroleum dependency does not come from vast oil and gas reserves, but from a miniscule non-petroleum economy which scarcely existed when oil exploration started. Timor-Leste relies on its petroleum exports more than every nation except South Sudan, Libya and perhaps Equatorial Guinea.

 Table 1: Gross Domestic Product in 2011             (million USD)

Total Gross Domestic Product (GDP)




GDP from Petroleum Sector




Non-oil GDP




Of which: Productive GDP (agriculture and manufacturing)




Source: RDTL DGS 2013



Even though 23% of Timor-Leste’s economy is ‘non-oil,’ about half of this is generated by state spending for purchases and infrastructure construction, the bulk of which was paid for with oil money. When the wells dry up, this will also end.

Government officials often claim that the non-oil GDP is growing at ‘double-digit rates,’ (RDTL Prime Minister 2014, 3; La’o Hamutuk 2014b; Global-Insight 2014, 6) but virtually all of the growth reflects state spending. The productive parts of the economy – agriculture and manufacturing – are only 4% of total GDP, and their value (in inflation-corrected dollars, but not adjusted for population or GDP growth) was lower in 2011 than in any year since Timor-Leste restored its independence in 2002 (RDTL DGS 2013).


Table 2: Balance of external trade in 2013             (million USD)






Imports [2]




Exports (excluding offshore oil and gas)
















Total trade deficit




Sources: RDTL DGS 2014 (goods); Central Bank of TL 2014a (services)

A lack of local production, combined with a surplus of cash (among state agencies and the small upper middle class), leads those with money to buy imported goods and overseas services (such as health care and education) rather than to spend in the domestic economy.

Trade is even less diverse and more import-heavy than the numbers show. More than 90% of the exported goods are coffee, whose value fluctuates with the weather and the global market. A large part of the exported services are tickets on international airlines sold through travel agencies in Timor-Leste.

A ‘buy not build’ mindset results in extreme import dependency. More than half of state spending immediately goes abroad. Most people have little economic nationalism, preferring cheaper or more available imports over local products, even for basic necessities. Chickens come from Brazil, rice from Vietnam, eggs and beer from Singapore, fruit juice from Cyprus, onions from Holland, garlic from China, milk from Australia… In 2013, more than $180 million went to Indonesian companies for goods ranging from water to candles to cigarettes to instant noodles to sugary drinks to canned fish. When the oil money is gone, foreign suppliers will still expect to be paid.

Counting people rather than dollars tells a different story. Timor-Leste is an agricultural country, and most households live mainly from subsistence farming.

The formal economy, both public and private, employs less than a third of the working-age population. Only 9% of the working-age population works for companies, and less than one-fiftieth of these work in the petroleum industry. As the IMF explains, ‘The oil and gas sector is the mainstay of the economy. … However … the sector directly accounts for virtually no on-shore employment. Its economic impact is entirely via government spending’ (IMF 2013).

Oil fuels the state machinery.


Table 3: Sources of income in the 2014 State Budget    (million $)


Projected revenues (to be deposited into the Petroleum Fund)




Revenue from oil and gas exports




Return on Petroleum Fund investments




Non-petroleum (domestic) revenue sources




Budgeted sources for financing state expenditures




Withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund during 2014




Withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund before 2014
(balance carried over)




Withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund after 2014
(borrowing to be repaid)




Non-petroleum (domestic) revenues




Source: RDTL MoF 2014a 

As Table 3 shows, more than 90% of Timor-Leste’s government income is from oil.

About $25 million of ‘domestic revenues’ comes from taxes paid by the state to itself (such as import taxes paid by companies working on state-financed projects). Another $19 million is gross receipts to the highly-subsidized public electricity system, which recovers only 20% of its operational costs from users, covering its deficit and capital expenditures with oil money.

Other domestic revenues are neglected; a 2008 “tax reform” slashed import, wage and business taxes on the mistaken belief that this would encourage foreign investment and reduce prices to consumers. As a result, Timor-Leste now has the third-lowest Total Tax Rate in the world, one-fourth of the global average (World Bank/PWC 2013).

Timor-Leste’s Petroleum Fund receives all oil and gas revenue, providing a buffer between this income and annual spending which allows the state budget to respond to public needs, rather than oil price and production fluctuations. The Fund is invested in bonds and stocks, on the theory that return from these investments will replace oil revenues after the fields run dry (La’o Hamutuk 2013).

Every year, the Ministry of Finance calculates an Estimated Sustainable Income (ESI) benchmark equal to 3% of the current Fund balance added to the net present value of expected future revenues from oil and gas fields with approved development plans.[3] The ESI informs Parliament’s decision of how much to transfer from the Fund to the annual state budget, although it was exceeded every year from 2008 to 2012, and will be again in 2014.

The ESI was designed to spend more initially, investing in Timor-Leste’s future and being supplemented by other revenues over time. If oil revenues and investment returns followed projections, ESI would be the same amount every year, regardless of population growth, local inflation (which has been 10% above global rates), improved state services or growing popular expectations. Nevertheless, its objective to continue to provide some income from investments after the oil is used up may not come to pass, due to transfers above ESI, rapid budget escalation, revision of the Petroleum Fund Law, less prudent price projections and reduced oil production and income.

The narrow bars at left show actual state revenues through 2013 and budgeted revenues during 2014. The lowest two segments (solid pink and purple) represent withdrawals from the Petroleum Fund, while the upper segment (stippled blue) is the balance carried over from excess Petroleum Fund withdrawals in prior years. However, the blue (carryover) and yellow/red (debt) also come from the Petroleum Fund in the past and the future.

Large oil revenues began in 2006; they have been declining since 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, Timor-Leste state expenditures grew more than 25% annually, higher than every nation except Zimbabwe.

Expenditures are shown as the wider bar. The two upper (red) segments represent physical infrastructure. Infrastructure construction absorbed more than half of state expenditures while the electricity system was being built in 2011-2012 and still takes one-third of the budget. Although spending on large projects has lessened due to delays, it will resurge if current plans are implemented.

Spending on recurrent costs (salaries, goods, services, public grants) continues to increase about 20% per year, even as the total budget shrinks. Although health and education are gradually getting more funding, Timor-Leste still invests 40% less on these human resources than other well-managed developing countries. Most children born during the post-1999 ‘baby boom’ are not getting decent nutrition or education. The future of Timor-Leste lies in these people, but they may be a lost generation or worse, a time-bomb.

Agriculture, which sustains the majority of Timorese households, gets only 2% of state spending, even lower than in 2013 (La’o Hamutuk 2014).

In mid-2013, Bayu-Undan operator Conoco-Phillips reduced its projection of future revenues by 49%, with production to end four years earlier than previously estimated (RDTL Ministry of Finance 2014a). Partly in response, for the first time in history, the Government withdrew less than the Parliamentary limit (which had been set at ESI) from the Petroleum Fund.[4] For 2014, the Government proposed withdrawing $903 million, well above the $632 million ESI. La’o Hamutuk suggested to Parliament that this is unwarranted (La’o Hamutuk 2013b) and the Committee on Public Finances agreed (RDTL Parliament 2013), but the enacted budget reflected the Government’s request.

The resource curse has many faces.

Timor-Leste’s economy and politics are typical of the ‘resource curse’ (Neves, 2013), a set of choices and outcomes that usually makes citizens of extractive-export-dependent countries worse off than people in countries with little oil or mineral wealth. The resource curse is not magic or metaphysical – it occurs in almost every impoverished country whose economy is dominated by the export of non-renewable resources, including Nigeria, Ecuador, the USSR, Gabon, Iraq, DRC, PNG and Nauru. Oil and gas exporters are the most vulnerable, due to the volatility of the international market, avarice of the petroleum industry, and the industrialized world’s addiction to petroleum.

Some factors are nearly impossible for Timor-Leste to control, such as the ruthlessness of huge international oil companies, global and local environmental damage, and the capital-intensive, high-skill nature of the industry. Others, however, can be overcome – although it is rare to find political leaders in any country with the far-sightedness, wisdom and courage to make the right decisions.

Timor-Leste’s oil and gas dependency is exacerbated by history and geography, including:

  • Small size. A tiny fraction of Timor-Leste’s 1.2 million people have had good education, entrepreneurial skills, or managerial experience.

  • Extreme poverty and underdevelopment. Portugal did little to develop economic production or human resources, while Indonesia destroyed infrastructure and punished individual initiative.

  • Emergence from foreign rule. Until 2002, leaders and citizens never lived under democratic self-government or rule of law. Administrative and legal structures must be built from scratch. Many civil servants learned bad habits while working for and/or resisting inefficient, illegal and corrupt Indonesian and Portuguese administrations.

  • Recovery from prolonged war. Many people are traumatized. Repeated unpredictable, uncontrollable interruptions to people’s lives has taught them not to plan for or invest in the future. Leaders who excelled at combating foreign occupation lack the skills for peacetime, democratic, consultative governance. In other countries, war and conflict is often caused by struggles over oil or minerals, but Timor-Leste hopes that that phase of its history is over.

  • Self-interested neighbors. Although both Australia and Indonesia claim to support the new nation, their thirst for oil and eagerness to avoid legal accountability sabotage their benevolence.

This poisonous combination makes it almost impossible to develop a sustainable, equitable economy. PowerPoints substitute for plans; the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 (RDTL 2011) is an enticing, impossible dream. Projects like the Tasi Mane south coast petroleum infrastructure project and the Special Economic and Social Market Zone in Oecusse fail to consider economic viability, competitive advantage or potential markets, while overstating employment and spin-off benefits. In search of showy quick solutions, planning neglects the unglamorous but essential tasks of alleviating poverty, replacing imports and working toward food sovereignty.

At the moment, the state has lots of money, but there are very few taxpayer-voters to insist that ‘their’ money be used prudently, honestly or thriftily. The elite and some constituencies proclaim their entitlement to public funds, a pattern set by ‘buying peace’ to neutralize possibly troublesome groups or political opponents. Instead of the give-and-take which constrains state spending in ‘normal’ countries, the whims of politicians or promoters consume Timor-Leste’s finite oil wealth.

Total life cycle costs of multi-year projects are concealed or ignored, while borrowing (sometimes concealed as Public-Private Partnerships) incurs hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to be repaid after the oil and gas is gone (La’o Hamutuk 2013c; La’o Hamutuk 2014d).

When a decision-maker has access to money, it seems like the solution to every problem. It’s easier to buy a scholarship than to build a quality university -- the 2014 budget for overseas scholarships is 35% more than the appropriation for the National University, which educates four times as many students as will receive the scholarships. Similarly, the state pays for a few well-connected people to fly to overseas hospitals while most have no access to decent health care. Roads and bridges in the capital used by diplomats or VIP visitors are repaved frequently, while rural communities struggle with impassable lanes and rivers. Airport and highway construction could consume a billion dollars of oil money – yet very few Timorese people will ever fly or own a car. Hundreds of millions more will build a container port which can handle an eight-fold increase in imports -- but without oil money, how can Timor-Leste pay for the imports or guarantee the investor’s expected return?

More portentous, petroleum dominates decision-making about current and future plans, diverting attention and resources from sustainable, equitable, realizable development paths. Because oil is where the action and money are today, the most persuasive, creative and ambitious people choose to work in that sector, in regulatory agencies, corporations and the national oil company. They persuade budgeters to award millions of dollars for concept studies, ‘pre-FEED’ designs and promotional PowerPoints. When the resulting proposals are compared with those for agriculture, tourism or import-substituting manufacturing, the playing field is tilted.

Similarly, the best and brightest university students major in petroleum engineering, similar to the rent-seeking that led many in the West to become stockbrokers and lawyers during the bubble before the 2007 financial crisis (Stiglitz 2014, chapter 2). As a result, less glamorous but more necessary fields like civil engineering, education, business development, water supply, sanitation, nutrition and health care are deprived of both financial and human resources, with ominous future consequences.

This petro-state doesn’t have much petrol.


Table 4: Oil and gas reserves in nearby countries


Timor Leste
50% Sunrise

Timor Leste
no Sunrise

50% Sunrise

no Sunrise




Known oil and gas reserves per person

800 barrels

310 barrels

1,180 barrels

1,150 barrels

91 barrels

6,960 barrels


Likelihood of additional discoveries

Low (small area, explored for decades)

High (further offshore)

Moderate (large area)

Moderate (deeper water)


How long reserves will last at 2012 production rates








Sources: La’o Hamutuk estimates, Santos 2014 and ANP 2014 for Timor-Leste; BP 2013 for other countries

If Timor-Leste’s oil reserves were as large as Brunei’s or Saudi Arabia’s, these problems could be drowned in dollars. Unfortunately, geology has not been that generous to this new nation. Even if the Greater Sunrise field is developed with an LNG plant in Timor-Leste and Australia taking only half of the upstream revenues, total expected oil and gas revenues will not even be enough to support one (current) dollar per person per day of public spending over the next four decades. This would be less than one-third of the current State Budget, which pays for a level of services that nobody would consider adequate for the long term. If the balance in the Petroleum Fund goes up and the stock market booms, additional revenue from investments could help a little, but recent patterns make this improbable (Scheiner, 2014).

Oil revenues peaked in 2012, and Timor-Leste has already received about 2/3 of its expected income from its two producing oil and gas fields. Kitan production will end in 2016 and Bayu-Undan by 2021 (RDTL MoF 2014; La’o Hamutuk 2014c). By comparison, Australia is richer in petroleum than Timor-Leste, with larger future potential. Indonesian reserves are smaller for its population, but they are being pumped more slowly than Timor-Leste’s.

Unfortunately, petroleum officials continue to boast that Timor-Leste has large undiscovered oil and gas deposits. For example, today’s newspaper quotes the president of the national oil company saying that they will keep pumping from Bayu-Undan after ConocoPhillips finds it unprofitable (Timor Post 2014).[5] During the discussion of a preliminary version of this paper at ANU in November 2013, National Petroleum Authority President Gualdino da Silva said ‘[Timor-Leste] is a proven petroliferous zone. It is also a new frontier; we need more production, we need more discoveries. How could one believe in a conclusion based only on the two production fields? The country is still in an early stage, in its infancy, of researching and discovering more oil and gas. It is too early to reach that conclusion’ (ANU 2013).

Although anything is possible, the country’s small and constrained land and sea area, geological structures, and 120-year history of oil exploration make significant additional reserves unlikely. The first Sunrise test well was drilled in 1974; Kitan is the only commercial field discovered after the flurry of exploration after the 1991 Timor Gap Treaty, and more than a dozen dry wells have been drilled since the occupation ended in 1999. During Timor-Leste’s most recent offshore licensing round, in 2006, no company which had previously explored the area submitted a bid.

What does the future hold?

Timor-Leste does not have enough oil and gas to sustain the country for very long. If the non-oil economy hasn’t developed when it runs dry in half a generation, many more Timorese people will join the swelling majority who live below the poverty line. When state revenues can no longer cover expenses, Timor-Leste will fall into austerity, with drastic implications for the state and its citizens.

Timor-Leste has insulated itself against some consequences of the resource curse by using an international currency; the U.S. dollar protects against runaway inflation and ‘Dutch disease’. However, inflation in Timor-Leste has been far higher than in our trading partners, due to the lack of local productive capacity and the supply of dollars exceeding the supply of imports.

Combined with good planning, the Petroleum Fund could help support sustainability. Although documents and officials often refer to inter-generational equity, suggestions for more serious efforts to develop alternatives to petroleum (UNDP 2011; Scheiner 2011; La’o Hamutuk 2012; Petroleum Economist 2013) were rebuffed (RDTL Spokesperson 2011; RDTL Spokesperson 2013) until recently (RDTL MoF 2013c; RDTL MoF 2013d). Nevertheless, Timor-Leste’s government continues to boast about its strong, growing, inclusive economy (Global Insight 2014), although it is unclear how many policy-makers believe their own advertising.

However, others are beginning to understand the urgency. After years of echoing the government’s petroleum-dominated priorities, the World Bank highlighted the need for non-petroleum economic development in its 2013-2017 Country Partnership Strategy (World Bank 2013). When President Taur Matan Ruak promulgated the 2014 State Budget in early February, he wrote to Parliament: 'Once again, I am concerned about the excessive dependency of government revenue on the Petroleum Fund. I am absolutely convinced that it is urgent to correct this situation. … I believe that it is necessary to adopt active policies to diversify economic development...’ (RDTL President 2014).

La’o Hamutuk and civil society have been urging this course for more than a decade (La’o Hamutuk 2002; La’o Hamutuk 2005a; Scheiner 2011; Scheiner 2013; FONGTIL 2013). In 2012, we began to estimate Timor-Leste’s state revenues and expenditures based on current trends, external factors and anticipated policy choices (La’o Hamutuk 2012; La’o Hamutuk 2012a). The spreadsheet model is online and frequently updated based on new information and refined methodology, as part of an ongoing effort to encourage prudent, evidence-based planning and decision-making (Scheiner 2014).

The model uses an engineering approach, based on causality and Timor-Leste history, rather than correlations with other countries. It does not try to simulate the macro economy and therefore does not estimate GDP, inflation, poverty or trade. Rather, it projects how much the state will receive and spend, based on oil and gas receipts, investment returns, domestic revenues and policy decisions about recurrent spending, megaprojects, borrowing, Sunrise development and other factors. The model uses data and estimates from a variety of sources, including state budgets and executed expenditures (RDTL MOF 2013; RDTL MOF 2013a; RDTL MOF 2013b; RDTL MOF 2014; RDTL MOF 2014a), population projections (RDTL DGS 2013b), oil price projections (US EIA 2013) and La’o Hamutuk’s calculations of oil and gas production and debt repayments based on published and unpublished information from oil companies and lenders. Detailed description of the model’s outputs and suggestions of what should be cut after Timor-Leste runs out of money are beyond the scope of this paper.

The graph at right shows the model’s baseline scenario, based on ‘best-guess’ assumptions of what is likely to happen and too optimistic for prudent planning. It uses higher oil prices than the Ministry of Finance uses to calculate the ESI, and assumes a better return on Petroleum Fund investments than they earned in 2012-2013.

With these assumptions, spending exceeds oil and interest income in 2019, and the Petroleum Fund begins to shrink. By 2026, before today’s infants finish secondary school, the Fund will be used up, and state spending will have to be slashed by two-thirds from desired levels, as shown by the red shaded background.

This scenario assumes that the Greater Sunrise project goes ahead soon with an LNG plant in Beaçu, so austerity cuts are ‘only’ 66%. If the companies prevail and they build a floating LNG plant, austerity will be 70%, a little harsher. But if no Sunrise agreement is reached and the project remains stalled, Timor-Leste will have to cut 88% from 2026 on, closing even more schools, clinics, offices and police stations.

Changes in other assumptions can bring on bankruptcy and austerity up to three years earlier or seven years later. However, without a dramatic redirection of policy approaches, Timor-Leste’s petroleum reserves and petroleum wealth will not be able finance the state for more than 20 years, even if the country’s wishes for Sunrise development, investment returns, and global oil market prices are granted.

Although limiting expenditure and increasing non-oil revenue could delay austerity for a few years, it is inevitable that geometrically growing budgets, increasing population and greater expectations will exhaust the country’s finite petroleum wealth. This can only be avoided with a rapid, radical shift of direction, toward increasing local food production, reducing imports, cutting wasteful spending and cancelling unprofitable megaprojects. Timor-Leste must fortify its strongest resource – its people – by investing in education, nutrition, health care and rural water and sanitation. It must develop agricultural production, the sector which employs most of its people, to meet basic necessities and reduce the need for imports. Timorese people of all economic classes, genders, regions and generations will have to work together to defeat the resource curse, to survive and thrive by creating an equitable, sustainable economy.

The Timorese people proved their unity and persistence through their difficult, long struggle to achieve political sovereignty over the Indonesian occupation. Achieving economic sovereignty by overcoming the petroleum occupation may be even more difficult. It will require diverse approaches, building on Timor-Leste’s strengths and prioritizing medium- and long-term sustainability. Economic justice must supersede subsidies for particular groups. Planning should be based on genuine benefits for the majority, not on slick presentations, impulsive decisions, flashy megaprojects or unbalanced decision making.

Timor-Leste has about seven years before its remaining petroleum wealth – the only ship which can take the nation away from poverty – will have sailed. If the nation has not built a solid foundation for its non-petroleum economy, the Petroleum Fund will have failed to avert the resource curse. Sadly, the Fund may have been a delusion of economic security that enabled Timor-Leste’s officials, advisors and donors to delay hard choices and avoid challenging, difficult tasks.


[1] During 2013 Timor-Leste received USD $3,050 million from oil and gas revenues and $865m from investing the Petroleum Fund, including unrealized stock price changes (Central Bank of Timor-Leste 2014). Non-oil state income totaled $146m, of which a significant portion was paid by the state to itself (RDTL MoF 2014).

[2] Recent Central Bank trade reports erroneously include U.S. dollar notes as imports; they are not included here.

[3] At present, this includes the Bayu-Undan and Kitan fields in the Joint Petroleum Development Area, from which Australia takes 10% of the revenue. The Greater Sunrise development plan has not yet been approved, so it is not part of the ESI.

[4] The 2013 budget authorized $787 million to be withdrawn from the Fund, equal to the Estimated Sustainable Income, but the Government withdrew only $730m because much more had been withdrawn during 2012 than the government could spend (La’o Hamutuk 2013a). Nevertheless, 2013 ended with $634m in the Treasury account, more than triple the cushion the Government says it needs.

[5] In 2007, Timor-Leste tried to continue oil production from the Elang-Kakatua field after ConocoPhillips decided it was no longer worth operating.  They were unable to attract another company.

References and Bibliography

Many documents are referenced on both La’o Hamutuk and RDTL Government websites, as Government sites frequently don’t work. All were accessed between December 2013 and May 2014.

National Petroleum Authority (ANP) 2014, JPDA production data,

Australia National University (ANU) 2013, ‘Trends in economic development’ podcast from Timor-Leste Update conference,

Barma, Naazneen H. 2014, ‘The Rentier State at Work: Comparative Experiences of the Resource Curse in East Asia and the Pacific,’ Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies,

BP 2013, ‘Statistical Review of World Energy,’

Central Bank of Timor-Leste 2014, Petroleum Fund quarterly and monthly reports, available at

Central Bank of Timor-Leste 2014a, Balance of Payments 2006-2013,

NGO Forum (FONGTIL) 2013, ‘Civil Society Statement on the Economic Sector’ to Timor-Leste and Development Partners Meeting, June 2013.

Global-Insight 2014, Timor-Leste advertising insert in Japan Times, 2 May 2014. Available at

IMF 2013, ‘Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste: Staff Report for the 2013 Article IV Consultation’ or

La’o Hamutuk 2002, ‘With Money, Oil Also Brings Problems,’ La’o Hamutuk Bulletin Vol. 3, No. 5 July 2002.

La’o Hamutuk 2005, ‘Public Consultation and Enactment of Timor-Leste Petroleum Fund Act’

La’o Hamutuk 2005a, ‘Timor-Leste will be one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world,’ La’o Hamutuk Bulletin Vol. 6, No. 5 November 2005.

La’o Hamutuk 2012, ‘Timor-Leste is going for broke’

La’o Hamutuk 2012a, ‘How Timor-Leste got Ten Billion Dollars … and how Quickly We will Spend it All.’

La’o Hamutuk 2013, ‘[Operation of] Timor-Leste Petroleum Fund’

La’o Hamutuk 2013a, ‘2013 General State Budget’

La’o Hamutuk 2013b, Letter to Parliament on the 2014 General State Budget, 8 November 2013, page 3. English translation at

La’o Hamutuk 2013c, ‘Timor-Leste is going into debt’

La’o Hamutuk 2014, ‘2014 General State Budget’

La’o Hamutuk 2014a, ‘Information about the Treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea’ includes links to relevant treaties and documents.

La’o Hamutuk 2014b, ‘The Double Digit Disappears’

La’o Hamutuk 2014c, ‘Oil production inevitably declines’

La’o Hamutuk 2014d, ‘Public-Private Partnerships to build grandiose infrastructure projects’

Mehran, Farhad 2014, ‘Timor-Leste Labour Force Survey 2013: Preliminary analysis of results’ unpublished draft

Neves, Guteriano 2013, ‘Rentier State, Statism, and Socio-Political and Socio-Economic Dynamic’ presented at Timor-Leste Studies Association, July 2013. English paper at; Tetum presentation at at

Petroleum Economist 2013, ‘Going for Broke’, editorial March 2013, page 2. or

RDTL 2011, ‘Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.’  or

RDTL Directorate-General of Statistics (DGS) 2013, ‘Timor-Leste National Accounts 2000-2011’, table 1.1.  or

RDTL Directorate-General of Statistics 2013a, ‘External Trade Statistics, Annual Reports 2012’, or

RDTL Directorate-General of Statistics 2013b, ‘Timor-Leste Census 2010 Volume 8: Population Projection’, or

RDTL Directorate-General of Statistics 2013c, ‘Business Activity Survey of Timor-Leste 2011’  or

RDTL Directorate-General of Statistics 2014, ‘External Trade Statistics, Monthly Reports 2013’,

RDTL Ministry of Finance (MOF) 2013, ‘Petroleum Fund 2012 Annual Report’ or

RDTL Ministry of Finance 2013a, ‘Fundo Consolidado de Timor-Leste, Declarações Consolidadas Anuais Ano Fiscal de 2012.’

RDTL Ministry of Finance 2013b, ‘State Budget 2013, Budget Overview’ (Book 1), tables and

RDTL Ministry of Finance 2013c, ‘Analysis of Fiscal Sustainability in Timor-Leste,’ Written in 2011 and released in mid-2013,

RDTL Ministry of Finance 2013d, ‘Yellow Road workshop’, May 2013. La’o Hamutuk compiled the presentations at; some are at

RDTL Ministry of Finance 2014, ‘Budget Transparency Portal.’ . Accessed 1 May 2014; updated frequently. Also

RDTL Ministry of Finance 2014a, ‘General State Budget 2014, Budget Overview’ (Book 1). The 2014 budget books are all at

RDTL Parliament 2013, Comissão de Finanças Públicas, ‘Relatório e Parecer Sobre a Apreciação Inicial da Proposta de Lei N.º 10/III (2ª) - Orçamento do Estado para 2014,’ page 19. Portuguese original at ; unofficial English translation at

RDTL President of the Republic 2014, ‘Mensagem ao Parlamento Nacional na Promulgação do Orçamento Geral do Estado para 2014’, 3 February 2014.  or  (Portuguese original)

RDTL Prime Minister 2014, ‘Address by His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic Of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão at the Forum on Trade and Investment Opportunities in Timor-Leste’ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1 April 2014. or

RDTL Spokesperson 2011, ‘Transparency and the UNDP Timor-Leste Human Development Report 2011’, press release issued 10 May 2011. or

RDTL Spokesperson 2013, ‘Correction of Inconsistencies in international media regarding oil and gas’, press release issued 21 March 2013.

Santos, 2014, Annual Reports for 2012-2014.

Scheiner, Charles 2011, ‘Timor-Leste Must Win Independence from Petroleum.’ Presentation at launch of UNDP 2011 Human Development Report.

Scheiner, Charles 2013, ‘Comments at the launch of the 2013 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific.’ Presentation at launch of ESCAP Report, 18 April 2013.

Scheiner, Charles 2014, ‘How long will the Petroleum Fund carry Timor-Leste?’ Forthcoming from the Timor-Leste Studies Association. (Tetum at with additional information at

Stiglitz, Joseph E. 2014, ‘The Price of Inequality’, W.W. Norton, 2014.

Timor Post 2014, ‘Timor Gap Preparadu Explorasa Bayu Undang,’ 21 May 2014, p 11.

UNDP 2011, ‘Managing Natural Resources for Human Development’ Timor-Leste National Human Development Report.

US Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2013, ‘Annual Energy Outlook 2013 with Projections to 2040’, DOE/EIA-0383 (2013) and associated statistical tables from

World Bank 2013, ‘Timor-Leste Country Partnership Strategy for Fiscal Years 2013-2017’

World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers 2013, ‘Paying Taxes 2014’

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o 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
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