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Greater Sunrise JV to decide on LNG terminal, develop gas fields off East Timor

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Greater Sunrise JV to decide on LNG terminal, develop gas fields off East Timor


New study to account for latest technologies and cost estimates

JV also negotiating new production sharing contract, petroleum mining code

  • Author
  • Eric Yep
  • Editor
  • Ankit Ajmera
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas Oil Petrochemicals

A consortium of companies called the Sunrise joint venture plans to develop the Greater Sunrise gas fields in the waters of Timor-Leste or East Timor and resolve a long-standing issue of the location of an LNG export terminal, according to a joint statement from the project partners Feb. 6.

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The joint venture comprises Timor Gap with a 56.56% interest, the main operator of the project Woodside Energy with a 33.44% interest, and Osaka Gas Australia with the remaining 10% share.

The companies said they will "undertake a concept select program for the development of the Greater Sunrise fields" and "consider all of the key issues for delivering the gas, for processing and LNG sales, to Timor-Leste compared to delivering the gas to Australia."

"The studies will incorporate and update previous work by utilizing the latest technologies and cost estimates while also considering the socioeconomic, capacity building, safety, environmental, strategic and security benefits of the various options," the statement said.

The development of Greater Sunrise has been stalled for several years due to a deadlock between Timor-Leste and its partners on the location of the LNG terminal from which the gas produced will be exported. The Southeast Asian country backs an onshore LNG export terminal, while its partners back piping the gas to an existing terminal in Australia to avoid construction costs.

"The studies will include evaluation of which option provides the most meaningful benefit for the people of Timor-Leste," the statement said, adding that the JV plans to complete the initial plan quickly to benefit from the gas flows.

The joint venture is also negotiating a new production sharing contract, petroleum mining code, and associated agreements with the Timor-Leste and Australian governments, that upon finalization will provide the fiscal and regulatory certainty required for a development to proceed, the statement said.

High global LNG prices and expectations of tight supply over the next few years following the Russia-Ukraine war have incentivized many borderline oil and gas production projects to seek approvals.

Woodside Energy CEO Meg O'Neill said the development of new technologies like modular LNG, which did not exist in the past, growing LNG demand, and constrained energy supply chains meant it was the right time to advance the project.

Greater Sunrise is located around 450 km north-west of Darwin in northern Australia and 150 km south of Timor-Leste and comprises the Sunrise and Troubadour gas and condensate fields, which contain an estimated contingent resource (2C) 5.3 Tcf of dry gas and 226 million barrels of condensate.

In 2018, East Timor bought Shell's 26.56% stake in Greater Sunrise for $300 million, giving it majority ownership of the acreage, after the country bought ConocoPhillips' 30% stake in the venture, taking its stake to 56.56% of the asset.