Petronas invited to develop Timor field
January 20, 2010 - 7:54AM
Malaysia's national oil company Petronas said Tuesday it has been invited by East Timor's government to help develop a disputed oil and gas field worth billions of dollars.
The comments come after Timor last week rejected proposals by a consortium led by Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd to develop the Greater Sunrise field, estimated to hold 240 million barrels of light oil and 154 billion cubic metres of natural gas.
Petronas and the Timorese government have conducted a joint feasibility study on developing the field.
"We have been advising them on how development of gas resources should take place. They have approached us whether we are interested to participate and we are studying it," Petronas Chief Executive Hassan Merican told reporters. He didn't give further details.
Greater Sunrise must be approved by both Timor and Australia, according to a 2007 treaty between the neighbouring states.
The deal gives the parties until 2013 to agree upon a joint development plan but Timor's latest position shoots down all proposals put forward so far by the Woodside consortium which includes Royal Dutch/Shell, Osaka Gas and ConocoPhillips.
Woodside has said it favours piping Greater Sunrise gas to the Australian city of Darwin or building a floating plant over the gas field so that tankers can be loaded at sea. But the Timor government said neither of those options was acceptable. It wants the gas piped to Timor.
Australia's government has said it remained committed to the treaty and was waiting to see Woodside's final plan before passing judgment.
Analysts have said Woodside had previously resisted the Timor pipeline concept because a deep seabed trench between Great Sunrise and the Timor coast made the option uneconomical.
© 2010 AP