Proposed LNG Plant for Sunrise gas in Beaçu
20 March 2015. Updated 28 January 2016
A key element of Timor-Leste's 2011-2030 Strategic Development Plan is the Tasi Mane Project (TMP), a corridor of petroleum infrastructure along the southwest coast of this country (schematic design at right) which includes:
This page discusses the third component of the project -- the natural gas pipeline and liquefaction plant being planned for Beaçu -- which is being managed by Timor-Leste's state-owned oil company TimorGAP. It includes the following sections:
The Beaçu LNG plant is designed to process natural gas from the Greater Sunrise project in maritime territory disputed between Timor-Leste and Australia. Timor-Leste wants the natural gas to be piped to Timor-Leste, liquefied, and exported, although Woodside and the other partners in the Sunrise Joint Venture prefer to liquefy and export the gas from a floating platform above the field. La'o Hamutuk wrote a book Sunrise LNG in Timor-Leste: Dreams, Realities and Challenges in 2008 and a briefing paper on Maritime Boundaries in 2009. Our website is updated regularly on the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field and on the maritime boundary dispute with Australia. This web page does not repeat that information.
In 2011, Timor-Leste awarded a $1.1 million contract to the Australian engineering company WorleyParsons to prepare Environmental Impacts Assessments for the first three components of the Tasi Mane projects. They then prepared EIAs for the Suai Supply Base and a "Strategic EIA" for Betano and Beaçu which TimorGAP submitted to the State Secretariat for Environment (SEMA). The Strategic EIA has general information about environmental implications of these projects, but it is not sufficient for an environmental license, which requires project-specific EIAs and Environmental Management Plans (EMP).
'Final' Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment for Tasi Mane project (June 2012): Executive Summary (4MB).
Originally, the Beaçu LNG terminal was expected to have a breakwater and offshore harbor, as shown in the drawing at left. However, the review by H.R. Wallingford determined that the sea was too rough, so the design was changed to the plan at right, and residents of Beaçu village will be displaced to make space for an in-shore harbor.
State Budget information from the Ministry of Finance shows some of what has been budgeted and spent for the Beaçu parts of the Tasi Mane project.
According to the 2016 State Budget as proposed to Parliament in October 2015, which was not significantly changed during the Parliamentary debate, the following is allocated for the Tasi Mane Project and the Beaçu LNG plant:
In addition to the data in budget documents, TimorGAP has published Annual Reports (2011-12, 2013 and 2014) which include information on the Beaçu projects. They are also discussed in TimorGAP's submissions to Parliament on proposed state budgets, presented on 11 November 2013 and 7 November 2014 (unfortunately, we have not been able to obtain their submission from November 2015). In August 2014, La'o Hamutuk wrote to the Chamber of Auditors suggesting that they audit TimorGAP's finances.
La'o Hamutuk obtained this information on awarded contracts from the Procurement Portal and other sources; it is probably not complete. So far, nearly all the money spent on this project has gone to foreign companies, providing hardly any local employment or spinoffs. The Procurement Portal has been "temporarily down for maintenance" since February, so many links in the table below may not work.
On 17 July 2014, Timor-Leste's National Procurement Commission (NPC/CNA) invited proposals from qualified consulting firms for the "Pre-Front-End Engineering Design (Pre-FEED) Study" for the LNG Plant. NPC provided a 100-page Request for Proposals document, with bidding procedures and a project description, to interested parties. A Pre-proposal conference was held on 7 August, and NPC issued clarifications on 19 August and 3 September. After extending the original 27 August deadline to 17 September, a bid opening meeting was held on 21 October. Although nearly 20 companies had expressed interest, only two submitted proposals: WorleyParsons for $4.96 million and Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd. for $3.80 million.
Amec Foster Wheeler had a lower price and higher technical score, and, on 10 March 2015, the National Procurement Commission announced that it intends to award the contract to them. La'o Hamutuk has written a letter of protest (also Tetum) to the Commission, explaining that uncertainties around the Greater Sunrise pipeline to Beaçu, as well as the many years which will pass before this project is built, make it inadvisable to spend even more of Timor-Leste's people's money on the Beaçu LNG dream. We also blogged Stop spending good money on faint hopes for Beaçu LNG and issued a Tetum press release summarizing the letter.
On 28 May, Amec Foster Wheeler announced that the contract had been awarded to them.
For more information, see these other relevant pages on La'o Hamutuk's website:
The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)