Timor Leste continues fight for Greater Sunrise LNG

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, June 24 -- Timor Leste continues to push for the Woodside Petroleum Ltd. joint venture’s Greater Sunrise LNG project to be developed on its shores.

Government spokesman Agio Pereira said recently that he expects to present a development plan later this year for a $3.8 billion LNG plant to be built on the country’s southern coast.

This runs in the face of Woodside’s April 2009 announcement that the JV has decided on floating LNG (FLNG) as the preferred processing option for Greater Sunrise in the Joint Petroleum Development Area of the Timor Sea. This would use Shell’s FLNG technology, which Woodside said would deliver the best commercial benefits to Australia and Timor Leste.

Woodside believes that piping gas to Timor Leste across the Timor Trench would cost $5 billion more than the FLNG option. It also presents major technical risks surrounding the construction, maintenance and operation of a pipeline in the trench because of the deep water and the region’s seismic activity.

The fields lie 450 km northwest of Darwin and contain an estimated 5 tcf of gas and 226 million bbl of condensate.

A final investment decision is expected for the project in 2012 with first LNG scheduled for 2016.

Analysts suggest that diplomatic tensions will be an ongoing issue, some suggesting the project has only a 30% chance of going ahead.

The JV comprises Woodside 33.4%, ConocoPhillips 30%, Shell 26.6%, and Osaka Gas 10%.

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