Office of the Prime Minister

 Media Release

 Timor Sea Treaty Ratified by Timor-Leste National Parliament

 18 December 2002

The National Parliament of Timor-Leste (East Timor) ratified the Timor Sea Treaty yesterday, with a vote of 65 in favour to 13 against.

The Timor-Leste Prime Minister, Dr. Mari Alkatiri, said from Dili today: “I am obviously very pleased that our National Parliament has ratifed the Timor Sea Treaty, and by such a large majority.  It is a huge step in the right direction for the future economic development of Timor-Leste.”

Both Timor-Leste and Australia must ratify the Treaty before it can enter into force.  Once the Treaty has entered into force, there will be a clear legal, regulatory and fiscal basis for Timor Sea developments, including the large Bayu-Undan gas development, to proceed.

The Treaty has not yet been ratified by Australian National Parliament.

Prime Minister Alkatiri added:  “I am confident that Australia will ratify the Treaty.  There seem to have been some delays on the Australian side, but I have now received reassurances that the Australian Government will honour its commitment, made on the day of Timor-Leste’s independence, to make this Treaty happen.”

The Bayu-Undan project, if it is allowed to go ahead, will bring revenues to Timor-Leste as early as 2004 when donor funding is expected to end.  The total revenues from the Bayu-Undan project to Timor-Leste, over the 17 year life of the field, are estimated at US $3 billion.  The project will also bring significant economic benefits to Australia, both from upstream revenue and from the proposed location of downstream processing facilities in Darwin.