Subject: RT: East Timor to submit gas pact to parliament

East Timor to submit gas pact to parliament

Thu Nov 9, 2006 4:40am ET

JAKARTA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - An agreement critical for developing the Timor Sea's biggest gas resource will be submitted to East Timor's parliament soon for debate and ratification, Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said on Thursday.

Oil and gas producers are waiting for the deal to be ratified before committing to develop the Greater Sunrise area, estimated to hold 8 trillion cubic feet of gas and up to 300 million barrels of condensate.

"... this treaty serves the best interests of our country and once ratified will allow the development of Greater Sunrise, the resources of which will guarantee economic independence and national prosperity," Ramos-Horta told parliament in a speech to mark 100 days in office.

He did not give a date for the submission of the pact, called the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea and the International Unitisation Agreement.

About 20 percent of Greater Sunrise lies in a Joint Petroleum Production Area (JPDA) between Australia and East Timor and the rest in what Australia calls its exclusive jurisdiction.

Under the JPDA 90 percent of royalty revenue go to East Timor and 10 percent to Australia, while the new agreement would share remaining revenue 50-50, potentially delivering up to $14.5 billion to impoverished East Timor over 20 years.

Australia has been putting off its own ratification, waiting for East Timor to act first.

Greater Sunrise operator Woodside Petroleum Ltd froze the $5 billion project in 2004 while waiting for Canberra and Dili to iron out their differences.

Another sticking point has been whether to build a liquefied natural gas processing plant for Greater Sunrise in East Timor and a pipeline to feed it the field's production, or to send it to a plant being built in northern Australia.

In addition to Woodside, Greater Sunrise's stakeholders include ConocoPhillips. Woodside is 34 percent-owned by Shell.

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