Timor Leste could leave the Sunrise gas and oil field in the Timor Sea undeveloped, if Australian company Woodside refuses to build a pipeline to the country’s south coast, it was reported here.
“The government is looking at all options to develop a thriving onshore petroleum industry,” Timor Leste Secretary of State, Agio Pereira was quoted by the Herald Sun newspaper as saying.
The newspaper said Timor Leste is at loggerheads with Woodside, which has ruled out building the 150km pipeline in favour of either a 500km pipeline to Darwin or a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant over Sunrise.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement by 2013, Sunrise will remain untapped.
Pereira said 250 hectares on Timor Leste’s south coast had been set aside to build a LNG plant.
East Timor and Malaysian oil giant Petronas, had also completed a “comprehensive” bathymetric mapping of the coast’s sea bed, he disclosed.
“All findings conclude the Timor-Leste option is a much more commercially viable, economically sound and technically feasible option.It also holds much less risk and greater benefit than Woodside’s original assertions,” Pereira said.
A spokesman for the Timor Leste Natural Resources Ministry told Reuters that the government was considering inviting Petronas to develop the field if there was no agreement with Woodside.
But it is believed the Timorese Government, which has committed to acting in “good faith” under the treaty with Australia, would prefer to strike a deal with Woodside.