Woodside and partners to study sending Sunrise gas to LNG plant in East Timor

Australian LNG player Woodside and its partners Timor GAP and Japan’s Osaka Gas will study sending natural gas from the Greater Sunrise field to a greenfield LNG plant in East Timor.

Woodside operates the Greater Sunrise fields, located about 450 kilometers north-west of Darwin and 150 kilometers south of East Timor (Timor-Leste), with a 33.4 percent stake.

The nation’s oil company Timor GAP has a 56.56 percent stake while Japan’s Osaka Gas has a 10 percent stake.

According to a statement by Woodside issued on Monday, the JV partners agreed to undertake a concept select program for the development of the Greater Sunrise fields.

The JV will 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, it said.

Moreover, the studies will incorporate and update previous work by utilizing the latest technologies and cost estimates while also considering the socio-economic, capacity building, safety, environmental, strategic and security benefits of the various options, Woodside said.

The studies will include evaluation of which option provides the “most meaningful benefit for the people of Timor-Leste.”

Woodside said the JV is aiming to complete the concept select program “expeditiously” given the benefits that could flow from developing the Sunrise fields.

Woodside and partners to study sending Sunrise gas to LNG plant in East Timor
Image: Woodside

New production sharing contract

The Sunrise development comprises the Sunrise and Troubadour gas and condensate fields.

According to Woodside, the fields contain an estimated contingent resource (2C) 5.3 Tcf of dry gas and 226 MMbbl of condensate.

Woodside previously preferred the option of sending the Sunrise gas to Darwin as there are two existing LNG plants in the region, namely the Santos-led Darwin LNG facility and the Inpex-operated Ichthys LNG plant.

However, the company’s CEO Meg O’Neill revealed in November last year that the firm is willing to consider sending the gas to a new LNG plant in East Timor and now the firm confirmed this with the new study.

In parallel to the concept select program, the Sunrise JV is progressing the negotiation of the new production sharing contract, petroleum mining code and associated agreements with the Timor-Leste and Australian governments, which upon finalization will provide the fiscal and regulatory certainty required for a development to proceed, Woodside said on Monday.

“Right time to bring forward the concept select program”

O’Neill said in the statement that the development of new technologies and growing demand for LNG meant it was the “right time to bring forward the concept select program.”

“It is important we continue to look at ways to develop the Greater Sunrise fields using the latest technologies by evaluating, for example, modular LNG, that did not exist in the past. Against a backdrop of global geopolitical instability and constrained energy supply chains, there is an opportunity for the Sunrise JV to significantly advance this regionally important project,” she said.

Timor Gap president and CEO Antonio de Sousa said he was “pleased that Timor Gap’s efforts have substantially contributed towards realizing the long-awaited goal of developing Greater Sunrise.”

“This path forward is a significant commitment to our stakeholders, to the aspirations of those who made sacrifices to achieve independence for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and to the future of our people and Timor-Leste,” he said.

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