Subject: ABC: Timor Sea oil, gas agreement expected soon

Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Mon, Feb 11 2002 9:02 PM AEDT

Timor Sea oil, gas agreement expected soon

East Timor's Foreign Affairs Minister expects an agreement on developing oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea to be finalised in a few days.

Jose Ramos Horta believes the Australian Government is about to approve an agreement signed between the resource company Phillips and East Timor in December.

Phillips last week confirmed the $1.9 billion gas project would go ahead and it expects to bring gas onshore to Darwin within four years.

Mr Ramos Horta says there is not much else to be sorted out.

"We had reached an interim arrangement in July last year, that was the basis for negotiations to continue with oil companies.

"I cannot say in this coming week, but I believe in a matter of days, Canberra understands the urgency of this situation," Mr Ramos Horta said.

"The oil companies are anxious to have an agreement from the Australian side now we're just waiting for some details to be worked out."

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