Subject: Lusa: Talks begin with Canberra on Greater Sunrise gas field

19-07-2002 17:33:00 GMT Lusa

East Timor: Talks begin with Canberra on Greater Sunrise gas field

East Timorese and Australian officials have held the first round of negotiations aimed at reaching an international standardization agreement in the Greater Sunrise natural gas field in the Timor sea.

With estimated gas reserves of 8.3 trillion cubic feet (238 billion cubic metres) and 300 barrels of condensate and LPG, Greater Sunrise, operated by Woodside Energy of Australia, is potentially one of the most lucrative in the Timor Sea.

In a statement sent to Lusa after a meeting with Canberra representatives Thursday, Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said, "The first round of contacts were very productive and took place in a positive atmosphere".

"We now have a clear negotiating timetable and are in a good position to conclude a standardization accord by the end of the year", added Alkatiri.

The Timorese head of government explained that the agreement would give the gas field a streamlined tax system and administration, making for a more solid investment base.

Only 20 percent of Greater Sunrise lies within the Joint Petroleum Development Area, established by Timor and Australia. Under a treaty signed May 20 between the two nations, Timor will receive 90 percent of 20 percent of revenue from the field.


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