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terça-feira, 22 de junho de 2010

East Timor Proposes $3.8 Billion Gas Hub on its Soil

By James Paton

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- East Timor, opposed to Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s plan to develop the Sunrise gas project using a floating plant, said it proposes a $3.8 billion oil and gas development hub on its southern coast.

Negotiations with Australia over the venture in the Timor Sea continue, government spokesman Agio Pereira said in an e- mailed statement today. The southeast Asian nation said it expects to put forward its plan later this year.

Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer and its partners, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, have opted to rely on floating liquefied natural gas technology for the development, saying that it will deliver the most revenue to both Australia and East Timor. The government of East Timor objects to any plan that doesn’t include a gas processing plant in the country.

Woodside has fulfilled all obligations governing the Sunrise project, the Perth-based producer said earlier this month. The company said it ruled out piping the gas to East Timor because it was more expensive and that floating LNG is the best commercial option for converting the gas to liquid form.

Roger Martin, a spokesman for Woodside, declined to comment.

Woodside dropped 0.4 percent to A$45.49 at 2:35 p.m. in Sydney trading, while the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.9 percent.

‘Technical Risks’

Piping the gas to East Timor for processing would cost about $5 billion more than the floating LNG option and “presents significant technical risks,” Woodside Chief Executive Officer Don Voelte said earlier this month.

East Timor’s petroleum regulator last month refused to accept Woodside’s plan, insisting on more detailed analysis of alternatives, including building a plant in East Timor.

The Sunrise resources straddle a boundary between Australian waters and an area jointly managed by the two countries. The countries agreed to share royalties.

Woodside and its partners have exclusive rights to develop the fields and sell the gas, the company said. Woodside has a 33 percent stake in Sunrise, while ConocoPhillips has 30 percent and Shell has 27 percent. Osaka Gas Co. owns 10 percent.

--Editors: John Viljoen, Ang Bee Lin.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney jpaton4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net

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