Woodside gets OK from East Timor to start work on Sunrise concept study

Australian LNG player Woodside and its partners Timor GAP and Japan’s Osaka Gas have received approval from East Timor (Timor-Leste) to kick off work on a concept study for the development of the Greater Sunrise fields.

Woodside announced this approval in a social media post on Wednesday after the company’s CEO Meg O’Neill made her first visit to East Timor.

During the visit, O’Neill met with Timor Leste’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, President Jose Ramos Horta, and Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Francisco da Costa Monteiro.

“Woodside Energy understands, respects, and wholeheartedly supports Timor-Leste’s aspiration for Sunrise to deliver real benefits to its people and we are very excited to collaborate on this important next step for the project,” the CEO said.

O’Neill did not provide any additional information.

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

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

Earlier this year, Woodside said that the JV partners agreed to undertake a concept select program for the development of the Greater Sunrise fields.

A spokeswoman for Woodside told LNG Prime that the February announcement was the SJV commitment to undertake the concept select study.

“This week’s statement confirmed the Timor-Leste government’s alignment to this activity proceeding,” she said.

Woodside said in February 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.

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

Woodside, partners get OK from East Timor to start work on Sunrise concept study
Image: Woodside

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, 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.

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 previously said.

(Updated with a comment from Woodside)

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