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Timor Sea Treaty Negotiations Concluded

The Hon Alexander Downer, MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia

Media Release

FA71 / 17 May 2002

Timor Sea Treaty Negotiations Concluded

I am delighted to announce that yesterday we successfully concluded the negotiations over the Timor Sea Treaty. This Treaty and related documents will open the way for major oil and gas developments in the Timor Sea between Australia and a newly independent East Timor.

Since reaching agreement in July 2001 on a draft Timor Sea Arrangement, negotiations have been under way to turn this into a Treaty and to provide a sound legal framework that will enable commercial development of the resources. The Treaty, an Exchange of Notes on provisional arrangements until entry into force of the Treaty and a Memorandum of Understanding on an International Unitisation Agreement for the Greater Sunrise field will be signed in Dili on 20 May.

The resources of the Timor Sea, including the Greater Sunrise field, are of major national interest for Australia. These agreements will now provide the necessary legal and commercial certainty for the companies to exploit the tremendous resource potential of the Timor Sea.

Early stage development of the Bayu-Undan field has commenced. This field will provide substantial revenues to East Timor from 2003 and will underpin the country’s future. The gas will be processed onshore in Darwin for export, providing substantial downstream benefits for Australia and greater export revenue.

It augers very well for the future of our relations, that on the eve of East Timor’s Independence Australia and East Timor have been able to strike this historic deal. It is significant that the negotiations, though tough at times, have been conducted in the spirit of cooperation and goodwill.


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