Australia, Timor-Leste sign milestone maritime boundary treaty

Australia and Timor-Leste signed a treaty establishing permanent maritime boundaries as well as a framework to jointly develop the Greater Sunrise gas fields.

The treaty was brokered by the Conciliation Commission established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the statement by the two governments says.

Although the progress on the Greater Sunrise fields dispute has been made, no agreement has been reached on the way of development.

The Court of Arbitration noted in its statement that the upstream revenue from Greater Sunrise will be shared 70/30 in Timor-Leste’s favor if the field is developed by a pipeline to Timor-Leste, or 80/20 in Timor-Leste’s favor if the field is developed by a pipeline to Australia.

The Woodside-operated multi-billion Greater Sunrise LNG project stalled due to disputes between the two governments as East Timor (Timor-Leste) argued that a larger portion of the Greater Sunrise assets should be under its jurisdiction.

The Greater Sunrise fields were discovered in 1974 and hold gross contingent resources of 5.13 Tcf of gas and 225.9 million barrels of condensate, according to Woodside.

The Australian LNG player, together with its partners plans on developing the resources through the Sunrise LNG project in which it holds a 33.44 percent stake.

Other partners in the project are ConocoPhillips (30 percent) Shell (26.56 percent) and Osaka Gas with a 10 percent stake.

In the case of Bayu-Undan and Kitan fields, Australia and Timor-Leste have agreed that the companies which hold the production sharing contracts will be subject to the same fiscal and regulatory regimes although under Timor-Leste’s jurisdiction not joint Australian and Timorese jurisdiction as is the case under existing treaty arrangements, a statement by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says.