East Timor, Australia in confidential discussion about disputed maritime boundaries
(23 February 2015)
East Timor and Australia are engaging in confidential discussions about maritime boundary disputes, newly-elected East Timorese Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo indicated. The Prime Minister’s comments occurred during an announcement rejecting a £11 billion bid by Woodside Petroleum to process natural gas offshore.
The Sunrise offshore gas field offers five trillion cubic feet of possible natural gas for development, but is located in an area with disputed maritime boundaries. Currently, the Joint Petroleum Development Area is administered by both Australia and East Timor, but East Timor has called the validity of the CMATS treaty covering the Sunrise development into question, noting that a redrawn maritime boundary could shift the Sunrise location fully into East Timorese territory.
A spokesperson for the prime minister reported that East Timor planned to "properly settle its maritime boundary with Australia” and that, “Timor-Leste has been blessed with a world class gas reserve in an area which will lie within its maritime boundary once delimited under international law.”
East Timor PM rejects Woodside's FLNG plan, 20 February 2015, news.com.au, http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/east-timor-pm-rejects-woodsides-flng-plan/story-e6frfkur-1227231713516