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Office of the Prime Minister
Media Release

(See below for 6 March release on signing the agreement)

Prime Minister welcomes conclusion of Sunrise negotiations 

Wednesday 5 March 2003

At the opening today of an international conference on petroleum and mining in Timor-Leste (East Timor), Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri announced that negotiations between Timor-Leste and Australia in relation to the Greater Sunrise Unitisation Agreement had concluded.

‘The negotiations were complex and difficult, but I am personally pleased with the outcome’, Prime Minister Alkatiri commented.  ‘The negotiated text is, I believe, truly non-prejudicial to either country’s position on permanent maritime boundaries.  It should provide a satisfactory economic result for all parties.’

The fact that Greater Sunrise is the subject of overlapping maritime boundary claims by Timor-Leste and Australia is recorded in the negotiated text.

There are no permanent maritime boundaries between Timor-Leste and Australia.  The Timor Sea Treaty, which is expected to be ratified by Australia in coming days, is a temporary petroleum revenue sharing treaty.  The Greater Sunrise gas field straddles the boundary of the Treaty area, and therefore requires a separate interim agreement, known as a ‘unitisation agreement’.

Greater Sunrise is believed to contain 8.35 trillion cubic feet of gas.  The operator of Greater Sunrise is Woodside Energy Australia.

Prime Minister Alkatiri also said today that he would submit the Greater Sunrise negotiated text to his Council of Ministers at a meeting on Friday this week.  He said that he expected his Government to be able to sign the Unitisation Agreement with Australian Ministers following that meeting.

Media enquiries:     Jonathan Morrow +670 723 4153  Zoe Cottew +670 723 4151

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International Unitisation Agreement Signed

Thursday 6 March 2003

In Dili today, Timor-Leste Senior Minister Ana Pessoa and Minister for Planning and Finance, Madalena Boavida, together with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, signed an International Unitisation Agreement (IUA) and related Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Greater Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea.

The Greater Sunrise field straddles the eastern perimeter of the Timor Sea Treaty. The Treaty was signed on 20 May 2002 by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and Prime Minister John Howard, and was ratified by the Timor-Leste National Parliament on 17 December 2002. It is expected that the Australian Government will ratify the Timor Sea Treaty in the next few days.

The IUA is without prejudice to either country’s position on permanent maritime boundaries, and is expected to provide significant economic benefits to both countries, as well as to investors. The MOU provides for a payment by Australia to Timor-Leste in return for the non-application of Timor-Leste’s taxing rights in Greater Sunrise area.

The IUA will enter into force following ratification by the Timor-Leste and Australian Governments. The earliest possible date that revenues could be expected from the Greater Sunrise field is 2008. The Greater Sunrise field is estimated to have reserves of 7.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.

Both the Sunrise Unitisation Agreement and the Timor Sea Treaty are interim arrangements for the joint development of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea until permanent maritime boundaries are agreed. Timor-Leste expects negotiations on permanent maritime boundaries to begin soon.

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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