Onshore gas plant in East Timor on the table for Sunrise development

Agio Pereira, East Timor Secretary of State

Agio Pereira, East Timor's Secretary of State. Picture by Glenn Hunt Source: The Australian

WOODSIDE has presented a study of an onshore gas export plant in East Timor, bowing to state demands to develop the Sunrise field.

The government in Dili today said Woodside Petroleum had met its request to submit different concept studies to develop the Greater Sunrise gas field, which included an analysis of the export facility.

Woodside and its Sunrise joint-venture partners, which include ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell, had last year decided to process the gas on a floating liquefied natural gas vessel, despite East Timor's wishes for an onshore plant.

The joint venture also chose floating LNG, as opposed to piping the gas south to an onshore plant in Darwin, Australia.

East Timor's regulators said earlier this year that they rejected documentation submitted by Woodside outlining the floating LNG development plan because they had requested studies on all three concepts.

“In recent months, Woodside has relented to meet the conditions required by the regulators,” Secretary of State Agio Pereira said in a statement.

Perth-based Woodside has presented concept studies for floating LNG, a plant at Darwin and a plant in East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste. “These documents are being carefully scrutinised by the National Petroleum Authority along with the Australian regulators,” Mr Pereira said.

The Secretary of State said Woodside has assessed that a pipeline from the gas field to East Timor would be $US400 million ($406m) cheaper than a pipeline to Darwin. He reiterated that independent studies commissioned by the government suggest a pipeline to East Timor is likely to generate even more cost savings.

“The government has consistently maintained the position that the option of the pipeline to Timor-Leste is the safest and most economically viable, following the spirit of the treaties covering the Timor Sea, which promote shared benefits,” Mr Pereira said.

Still, he said the government is “confident that Timor-Leste has both the national and international expertise to assess thoroughly the development options at Greater Sunrise”.

Woodside last week announced a $900m cost blowout and six-month delay at its Pluto LNG project in Western Australia, which Mr Pereira said “has further reinforced” the government's “commitment to ensure proper process and due diligence in the development of Greater Sunrise”.

Woodside wasn't immediately available for comment.

source: The Australian

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