Subject: NT urges more generous offer over gas field royalties

Also: NT urges more generous offer over gas field royalties

Monday June 7, 06:03 PM

Australian Govt Urged To Offer Bigger Royalties To E. Timor

SYDNEY, June 7 Asia Pulse - The Northern Territory's chief minister today called on the federal government to offer East Timor more generous royalties for the Sunrise gas field in a bid to speed up the Timor Sea development.

Clare Martin made the call at an international oil and gas conference in Darwin where she told delegates a complex dispute over maritime boundaries was delaying the potential development of the Sunrise field.

Australia could smooth the way for the development by unlinking the complex boundary issue from the separate debate about the potential split of revenue from Sunrise, she said.

"One way forward for the development of Sunrise is to separate the issue of maritime boundaries from the possible revenue and the revenue split," Ms Martin told the South East Asia Australia Offshore Conference.

"It's a logical way to go and Australia, I believe, can make that happen."

"Australia and (East Timor) can go back to the negotiating table and find a revenue split, a more generous revenue split for (East Timor), that would only apply to Sunrise ... a one off."

Woodside Petroleum Ltd, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Osaka Gas are partners in the Greater Sunrise development that is believed to have enough gas to support a 5.3 million tonne per annum LNG development.

The Sunrise partners have been pursuing customers and commercial arrangements to support the development of gas fields.

ASIA PULSE

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Monday, June 7, 2004. 3:31pm (AEST)

NT urges more generous offer over gas field royalties

The Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, is calling on the Federal Government to make East Timor a more generous offer over royalties from the Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea.

Ms Martin made the call while opening an international oil and gas conference in Darwin.

The Chief Minister says the dispute between Australia and East Timor over the lucrative Sunrise field could mean the resource is not developed for years.

She has called on the Federal Government to 'de-link' the hotly disputed issues of royalties and maritime boundaries which are holding up the project.

Instead she wants Australia to make a generous one off royalty offer.

"The Timor Leste needs an assured income for its future growth and stability and the Australian Government can deliver that through Sunrise if the field's development is able to move ahead," she said.

East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri says his Parliament will not ratify the agreement for Greater Sunrise until Australia shows good faith and establishes a time frame to negotiate sea boundaries.

"To stop issuing licences and every kind of concession in areas of overlapping claim and agree to on the basis of time frame of three to five years," he said.

"If we are not able to resolve by negotiation and then a third plan can be asked to resolve it."

The Federal Government says it will continue to provide generous assistance to the fledgling nation of East Timor.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources Warren Entsch says the current arrangements are a win-win situation for Australia and East Timor.

"Considering Australia's longstanding and valid claim and international law to the extent of its continental shelf the 9010 square kilometres of Timor Sea Treaty is further evidence of Australia's determination to contribute to the economic development of Timor Leste," he said.


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