Woodside expects E Timor to buckle over gas field

By Jane Bardon

Posted Fri May 7, 2010 4:16pm AEST

Woodside says it expects the East Timorese people will force their Government to overturn a decision to block Woodside processing gas from the Greater Sunrise field on a floating platform.

Both East Timor and the Northern Territory had hoped to persuade Woodside to establish an onshore site in their jurisdictions.

Woodside chief executive, Don Voelte, says the offshore plan will still be worth $13 billion each to East Timor and Australia.

He does not think the East Timorese Government will carry out its threat to break an international treaty to block the plan.

"A treaty that was very defined, not done under duress, and done with much due dilligence and they're walking away from it now? I dont think that's going to work."

The Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, says other companies are likely to follow Woodside's decision to build its processing plant offshore, instead of on the Australian mainland.

Mr Henderson says the Territory and other mainland jurisdictions have to accept that it is cheaper to process offshore in many cases.

"We are going to see more and more of these remote fields processed offshore, that's the reality of where technology is heading," he said.

"But there is an upside to this as well: there are many discovered fields to the north of Darwin that are too small on their own to support bringing offshore platforms and pipelines to Darwin."


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