East Timor Urges Australia to Back the Long-stalled Gas Pipeline Project

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East Timor Urges Australia to Back the Long-stalled Gas Pipeline Project

Fri, 09/09/2022 - 09:25
East Timor on the map (© Shutterstock/hyotographics)
East Timor on the map (© Shutterstock/hyotographics)

East Timor president Jose Ramos-Horta On Wednesday, September 7, 2020, expressed confidence in Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, and China as potential investors in the long-delayed gas project in the waters between East Timor and Australia, Reuters reported.

Speaking at the national press club in Canberra, Timor pointed out the project as vital to the country's future.

Ramos-Horta clarified that East Timor is committed to ending the disagreement with Australia over the development of Greater Sunrise gas fields, which intends to pipe the gas to the country and not to Darwin as proposed by Woodside Energy Group (WDS.AX), the project operator.

In his speech, Ramos-Horta persuaded Australia to support his bid to piping the gas to East Timor, lauding the project as one which could elevate his country to the level of Dubai or Singapore.

"This project will bring our country $50 billion in revenue and $50 billion as development benefits," said Ramos-Horta.

He described Australia as a neighbor who could make the miracle come true. He promised to hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese and deliberate on the project.

The Greater sunrise, which comprises two fields, was discovered in 1974 and holds about 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. It has 226 million barrels of condensate which have gas.

The project's development was initially hampered by a nasty maritime boundary dispute pitting the two countries. As much as the conflict was resolved, the two factions are now in a disagreement over piping the gas to a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant located in East Timor or to the already set up LNG hub in Darwin, Australia.

Despite the project being vital to Timor's future as the major revenue source, Woodside and other experts have voiced their concern over the cost of developing Sunrise via East Timor as more expensive than Darwin.

"It makes no sense piping the gas to Darwin that requires a five hundred kilometer pipeline instead of East Timor which will need a two hundred kilometer pipeline," said Ramos-Horta.

He further added that the operating costs would be less than in Darwin, and it would be Illogical to deny Timor this golden chance. He also expressed confidence that they would reach a consensus with Woodside after discussion.

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