The government has launched a last minute appeal to secure the proposed $3 billion LNG processing plant and pipeline on its soil.
The Timor Leste administration wants an additional US$5 billion in royalties and “all production of the Greater Sunrise field be based in East Timor [with a] massive seabed pipeline built to bring the gas onshore” in exchange for giving up its territorial claims.
This latest demand will probably push out the Christmas deadline for the resolution of the dispute over the seabed boundary and the massive gas reserves in the region.
This news is probably not what some the project’s co-venturers – Shell, Woodside, Osaka Gas and ConocoPhillips – wanted to hear. In a joint communiqué the firms stated, “We have yet to decide how we will develop Greater Sunrise. The project could stall for years if the two governments do not agree by Christmas.”
According to Timor Leste resources minister Jose Teixeira, “The plant will offer the fledgling nation new employment opportunities, a chance to diversify and modernise our economy and additional tax revenues. My Government will ensure all avenues are exhausted in pursuit of the pipeline and gas plant.”
The Northern Territory government has also made strong representations for the plant and pipeline to be based on its coast.
Co-venturer in the project, Woodside Petroleum, has always stated the site of the facilities will be chosen “on technical and commercial grounds alone”.
The Australian firm has cited three possible locations for the project: Darwin, East Timor and “a floating operation”.