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East Timor Offshore Seismic Exploration

In June 2004, Timor-Leste invited bids for a multi-client, two-dimensional seismic survey in the uncontested part of the Timor Sea, north of the Joint Petroleum Development Area. The Terms of Reference explain the details. Three companies submitted bids.

In September a team of national and international advisers assessed the bids in terms of the work program, financial return to the State and training of national staff.

Before the contract was signed, La'o Hamutuk expressed concern about the lack of legal framework for this contract, and the lack of specification of environmental and other standards the companies were expected to follow. We suggested the Marine Geophysical Safety Manual by the International Association of Geophysical Contractors as one example of a standard, and also drew the regulators' attention to an environmental plan and public information sheet prepared by Woodside for an offshore seismic project in Mauritania. We also indicated concern about the debt and limited experience of the leading Norwegian bidder for the project, GGS.

Costs / Revenues101022
Volume kms91067
RDTL Underwriting810010
Data Ownership7101010
Bathy Maps5101010
Grav. Maps5101010
Tie lines to existing fields41099
Acquisition Parameters4101010
Confidentiality Period310010
Support Measures2101010
Contract offered21077

In early September, the RDTL government awarded a contract to a consortium of Global Geo Services (GGS, Norway) and BGP (a division of PetroChina). According to the RDTL Government, the decision was based on the table at right.

Jn December, the companies announced that they hope to finish the project by March 2005.

In February 2005, RDTL began to publicize the imminent round of bidding for contracts in the petroleum industry trade press, although the Petroleum Act which will regulate this process had not yet been submitted to Parliament or revealed to the public. On February 17, Prime Minister Alkatiri announced the completion of the survey and imminent release of the data.

IHS Energy began promoting the data package. In August 2005, GGS received their first order for seismic data. In 2006, they revised the description of the data being offered.

The information provides the basis for Timor-Leste's first licensing round in 2006.

In November 2005, the Timor Sea Designated Authority (TSDA) ordered a seismic survey from GGS of parts of the Joint Petroleum Development Area.

In May 2007, Eni circulated an Environment Plan for a 3D Seismic Survey in Timor-Leste's territory for public comment. La'o Hamutuk's submission was the only one received.

In March 2008, the RDTL government conducted a limited public consultation on a Reliance seismic survey for Block K of Timor-Leste's territory. Again, La'o Hamutuk made the only submission.

Below are a series of media articles about the seismic exploration including:

GGS - New Multi Client Survey Offshore East Timor

(From Nordnet, 6 September 2004)

The Government of the República Democrática de Timor Leste (RDTL), East Timor, has awarded a multi-client seismic contract to a partnership of GGS (Global Geo Services) and the Chinese Geophysical contractor BGP. The partnership was selected after a competitive bidding round. The seismic, gravity and bathymetric data to be collected will be mandatory data for the first licensing round in East Timor, planned for 2005.

The area to be covered is located between the southern coast of East Timor and the JPDA (Joint Petroleum Development Area). The JPDA contains two world-class petroleum discoveries (the Bayu-Undan and the Greater Sunrise fields). The survey area is un-explored and will be offered for licensing to the petroleum industry in 2005.

The seismic survey is approximately 6,000 km and will be conducted in the 4th quarter of 2004. Under the contract, the partnership will also process and interpret the data, arrange training and co-operation measures in East Timor and support the RDTL Government in its first international licensing round. The survey has obtained full industry funding.

Morten Andersen, Chairman of the board of GGS states: 'I am very pleased with the award of the East Timor Contract. It represents a positive development in line with the company's strategy to build GGS activities also outside Iran and the Middle East.'

CNPC to Conclude East Timor Seismic Survey in March

Reuters, 8 December 2004

SINGAPORE - China's largest state oil group, CNPC, and its Norwegian partner is expected to complete a seismic survey for oil and gas exploration in East Timor in March next year, an East Timorese official said on Tuesday.

The six-month survey, conducted in a 20,000-square km (7,723-sq mile) area by CNPC's geophysical bureau and Norway's GGS, would prepare East Timor for its first oil licensing in the second quarter of 2005, Secretary of State for Investment Jose Teixeira said.

The area is not disputed by East Timor and its giant neighbour Australia.

The government is also talking to PetroChina, CNPC's New York and Hong Kong-listed unit, for future investment in the poor but potentially energy-rich nation, Teixeira told reporters at a regional oil and gas conference.

"China is hungry for energy and they have been very aggressive marketing themselves. China's presence gives us confidence," he said.

Teixeira said parliament was expected to pass its first petroleum law next week as the two-and-half-year-old nation strives to lure oil dollars to help lift the population of 800,000 out of poverty.

The former Portuguese colony, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, is seeking to resolve a territorial row with Australia over part of the Timor Sea to end a wrangling over a $5-billion Great Sunrise gas project.

Companies operating in the disputed area include Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Australia's Woodside, ConocoPhillips and Japan's Osaka Gas Co. Ltd.

ETimor to release seismic survey data to oil exploration rights bidders soon

AFX, 17 February 2005

DILI (AFX) - East Timor Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said a seismic survey conducted by the BGP-GGS consortium of Petrochina and Norway's GGS over a potential energy source in the Timor Sea has been completed and the results will soon be made available to interested bidders for exploration rights.

'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,' Alkatiri said in a statement.

The survey vessel MV Zephyr, with its crew of 39 including three Timorese trainees, has collected 6,500 kms of seismic data over an area of 30,000 sq kms in the Timor Sea over the past seven weeks.

Up to now all petroleum activities have been conducted with Australia in the Joint Petroleum Development Area, which was created by the Timor Sea Treaty.

East Timor shares oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea with Australia and is currently trying te resolve a dispute over the division of the area.

Alkatiri said the survey shows that East Timor is determined to press ahead with the development of its own petroleum potential in onshore and offshore areas, and will not be distracted by the dispute with Australia.

He added that parliament is 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 passed.

Officials have said East Timor would launch this year a global 'roadshow' to attract foreign energy firms to commit to exploration in the areas in which it has exclusive jurisdiction, with licenses to be given out shortly afterwards

Global GeoServices ASA receives order for East Timor data set


The Norwegian seismic company Global Geo-Services ASA (GGS) said on Monday (29 August) that it had received an order for the full East Timor data set collected in cooperation with the Chinese company BGP.

Because of the financing model for the East Timor project, GGS will not book revenues before costs are fully covered and the project is in black figures, the company said.

"I am very happy to see that the great interest that has been shown by international oil companies for the East Timor data is now beginning to materialise into sales. We expect the interest to accelerate further after the international road show in the first half of September," said Morten Andersen, chairman of the board of directors of GGS.

Global Geo Services ASA receives new order for Timor-Leste data

Nordic Business Report, 5 October 2005

The Norwegian seismic company Global Geo Services ASA said on Monday (3 October) that it had received a new order for Timor-Leste seismic data. The order is worth US $8-0.9 million. Global Geo Services said that total sales for the data now consist of five full sales and two part sells, and that it expects additional sales in the future.

Global GeoServices ASA wins order for JPDA survey near Australia

Nordic Business Report, 16 November 2005

Norwegian seismic company Global Geo-Services ASA (GGS) said on Wednesday (16 November) that it had received an order for the full JPDA survey located in the jointly administrated area between Australia and East Timor.

The survey would consist of 4,000 km, and is being collected with the seismic vessel Polar Duke.

No financial information was provided.

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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