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Timor Sea Office
Office of the Prime Minister

7 June 2004

Timor-Leste Prime Minister Opens Nation for Petroleum Development

Darwin (June 7) – Timor-Leste (East Timor) Prime Minister Dr Mari Alkatiri announced today a new plan for the development of a petroleum industry with the offering of rights for onshore and offshore seismic and geological data acquisition.

The announcement of this data round is the first step in a series of events and actions geared towards the award of Timor-Leste’s first exploration licenses in the fourth quarter of 2005. This will be Timor-Leste’s first sovereign licensing round. Timor-Leste, as a signatory to the Timor Sea Treaty, is already active in the joint governance of petroleum development in areas of the Timor Sea.

“Recent petroleum geology expert surveys, as well as previously existing seismic survey data, indicate that there is potential for the existence of highly prospective hydrocarbon deposits in some areas both onshore and offshore. We have therefore decided to grant rights to conduct seismic data acquisition surveys,” Dr Alkatiri said in his keynote address to the SEAAOC conference in Darwin.

The initiative affirms that Timor-Leste is moving ahead with the development of its petroleum sector, and will not allow the maritime boundary dispute with Australia to frustrate its national development.

Dr Alkatiri said that Timor-Leste will observe international law in offering rights, and unlike Australia will not unilaterally license exploitation in disputed areas.

“Naturally, my Government takes into account the fact that Australia has made jurisdictional claims in some of the areas of the Timor Sea. We will fully observe international law in relation to all petroleum activities, including the obligation to exercise restraint in any areas where Australian claims may conflict with Timor-Leste’s,” he told the conference.

Bid tender packages will be available by June 15, with bids due by July 15. The Government expects to notify successful bidders by the end of July and all work obligations are to be completed before the end of 2004. Parties interested in receiving bid documentation should contact or

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Paul Cleary 0431 055584; Manuel de Lemos, 0408872137

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
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