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Enactment of Timor-Leste Petroleum Regime

August 2004 - August 2005


The Petroleum Regime for Timor-Leste includes several laws and documents that define how Timor-Leste's government will regulate petroleum development and petroleum companies.

(This Regime does NOT deal with how the money Timor-Leste receives from petroleum is managed and spent. This is defined by the Petroleum Fund Act, which was debated and enacted while the Petroleum Regime was being discussed.)

In August and September 2004, the drafting committee held a public consultation on draft versions of the documents which make up the Petroleum Regime: the Draft Timor-Leste Petroleum Act, Draft Timor-Leste Petroleum Tax Act, Draft Production Sharing Contract for Timor-Leste, which govern both offshore and onshore petroleum projects in Timor-Leste's territory. They also discussed two documents governing projects within the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) in the Timor Sea, which is a binational (TL/Australia) jurisdiction under the Timor Sea Designated Authority (TSDA): the Draft Production Sharing Contract for the JPDA and a Draft Petroleum Mining Code for the JPDA.

La'o Hamutuk made a detailed submission to this process, as did other NGOs and institutions.

The Petroleum Regime was revised approved by the RDTL Council of Ministers in December 2004. No further public consultations were held, and the text was not released to the public. Parliament was briefed on this legislation in mid-July, and then passed it without any public hearings. Although the official versions of the laws are in Portuguese, here are unofficial English translations of the laws as approved by Parliament. La'o Hamutuk will post other languages as we receive them.

Petroleum Regime Enacted

The Timor-Leste Parliament passed two Petroleum laws in July 2005, for land and sea falling within Timor-Leste's exclusive jurisdiction.

Timor-Leste Petroleum Taxation Act (also Portuguese), Law No. 8/2005 passed by Parliament 5 July 2005 and promulgated on 3 August.

Timor-Leste Petroleum Act (also Portuguese), Law No. 13/2005 passed by Parliament 29 July 2005 and promulgated on 2 September.

Timor-Leste Model Production-Sharing Contract. This accompanies the Petroleum Act, with more specifics about the relationship between Petroleum companies and the government.

More information about the Timor-Leste legislation and its implementation was on the website of the Oil, Gas and Energy Directorate of the RDTL Government, on the Petroleum Transparency part of the RDTL Government website, and on the website of the Prime Minister's Timor Sea Office.

The Petroleum Regime for the maritime Joint Petroleum Development Area is under control of the Timor Sea Designated Authority, which released two analogous documents in August 2005:

JPDA Petroleum Mining Code (equivalent to TL Petroleum Act)

JPDA Model Production Sharing Contract

These JPDA documents are included in a 3.5 megabyte JPDA 2005 acreage release file which describes the areas in the JPDA available for bidding. This and other information was on the now-defunct TSDA website, which La'o Hamutuk has archived here.

In our November 2005 Bulletin, La'o Hamutuk analyzed these laws and described some of their loopholes. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri wrote a response which La'o Hamutuk subsequently published along with our comment.

La'o Hamutuk has published a comprehensive and extensive collection of information and documents relating to Timor-Leste Petroleum activities and related issues through 2008 on the OilWeb part of this website. This invaluable reference includes more than 2,000 files, with material and audiovisuals on Timor-Leste's petroleum resources, the history of exploration and development here, detailed legal and documentary data on the Australia-Timor-Leste maritime boundary dispute, as well as many local and global background papers on transparency, the "resource curse", ecological effects, the consequences of oil and gas development in other countries  and other essential information.

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (Lao 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
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