Subject: Australia, E. Timor extend Timor Sea arrangement

Australia and East Timor extend Timor Sea arrangement

SYDNEY, April 11 (Reuters) - Australia and East Timor agreed to a one-year extension of an existing agreement on petroleum revenue sharing in the Timor Sea on Tuesday.

But oil and gas producers said they would wait for a proposed new agreement to be ratified by both countries' parliaments before progressing key projects around the Timor Sea's biggest gas resource, Greater Sunrise.

About 20 percent of Greater Sunrise, which holds an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of gas and up to 300 million barrels of condensate, lies in the current Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) and the rest in what Australia calls its exclusive jurisdiction.

"Operators are advised that the administrative arrangements in place in the Joint Petroleum Development Area to date will continue to apply until 2 April 2007," said Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane.

Under the JPDA 90 percent of royalty revenues go to East Timor and 10 percent to Australia, while the new agreement, inked in Sydney in January, shares remaining revenues equally between the two countries, potentially delivering up to $14.5 billion to East Timor over 20 years.

The country, one of the world's poorest, gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 after three years of violence. Australia sent more than 5,000 troops to restore order at the head of a United Nations mission.

Greater Sunrise operator, Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. , froze the $5 billion project in 2004 after sea-border talks between East Timor and Australia collapsed, and said earlier on Tuesday it would wait for formal ratification of the new treaty before deciding whether to return to developing it.

Greater Sunrise's other stakeholders are ConocoPhillips , Royal Dutch/Shell and Japan's Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. . Woodside is 34 percent-owned by Shell.

------------------------- Joyo Indonesia News Service

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