Timor Leste Awards Onshore Blocks
Timor Leste's government announced April 12 the award of two onshore production sharing contracts covering 2,000 km2 .
Upstream regulator, the National Petroleum and Minerals Authority (ANPM), had said April 9 it awarded the licences on April 7 jointly to Timor Gap (the state-owned oil company) and Timor Resources, a company incorporated in Australia and part of the Nepean Group of companies, on a 50-50 basis with Timor Resources taking on the role of operator in both blocks.
The new PSCs for the onshore Block TL-OT-17-08 and TL-OT-17-09 are managed by the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources represented by ANPM and are situated in the south-western part of the country. All across the two block dozens of oil and gas seeps have been identified.
April 7 signing ceremony in the capital Dili (Credit: ANPM)
Licensees have committed to carry out approximately 200 km2 seismic and drill two wells in each block in the third year.
With this, Timor Resources becomes the first independent entity in almost five decades with rights to develop onshore oil and gas. The government said the start of onshore exploration "represents a major step in national development."
There has been a long standing dispute between Timor Leste and its larger neighbour Australia regarding the Greater Sunrise gas field in their offshore joint development area (JDA) and, earlier this year, Timor Leste decided to annul an oil and gas treaty signed between the two nations in 2006.
Despite this, the Timor Leste government has built up a Petroleum Fund from royalties earned in that JDA and its own offshore that, as of its most recent bulletin on February 28 2017, held total net capital of US$16.2bn.
Recent contacts with Indonesia
Last year the government signed a memo of understanding with Indonesia, which under a previous military government was Timor Leste's occupying power, and in January 2017 the two democratic governments held a bilateral meeting of their oil and gas ministries in Bali to discuss cooperation in exploration, an onshore LNG project in either country, and a gas pipe between them, with a follow-up meeting to be held in 2Q2017.