Australia’s Woodside Energy Group is moving quickly to choose the best option for developing the Greater Sunrise natural gas field near East Timor. Last year East Timor’s president warned a continued impasse could open the door to investment from China. The project is a joint venture between East Timor’s state-owned energy company with 56.56% of the project, operator Woodside (WDS) holds 33.44% and Osaka Gas (OSGSF) owns 10%. It has been stalled for decades.
China has been active in trying to get nations loyal to Australia to effectively switch to the Chinese by promises of investments.
East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta last year called on the Australian government to back a gas pipeline from the Sunrise fields to East Timor to help bring the country $50 billion in revenue and $50 billion in development benefits.
Development of the Sunrise fields has been stalled for decades, much of this has to do with war in the region. There have been disputes over whether the gas should be processed for export at a liquefied natural gas plant in Australia or East Timor or on a floating LNG platform in the Timor Sea.
“The studies will include evaluation of which option provides the most meaningful benefit for the people of Timor-Leste,” the joint venture said in a statement.
Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill said the JV will look at new technologies, including modular LNG, which did not exist when the project partners previously concluded that the best option was to process the gas in Darwin, Australia.
The Sunrise development comprises the Sunrise and Troubadour gas and condensate fields, collectively known as Greater Sunrise. The Greater Sunrise fields are located approximately 450 kilometres north-west of Darwin and 150 kilometres south of Timor-Leste.
Following the establishment of a new maritime boundary treaty between Australian and Timor-Leste in 2019, negotiations between the Governments and the Sunrise Joint Venture on a new Greater Sunrise Production Sharing Contract have been ongoing.
The Sunrise Joint Venture remains committed to the development of Greater Sunrise provided there is fiscal and regulatory certainty necessary for commercial development to proceed.
From a Sunburnt Country