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Ministry of Development and Environment
Department of Mineral Resources & Energy Policy


15 February 2005

Timor-Leste Requests Report on Timor Sea Oil Spill

The Government of Timor-Leste (East Timor) has written to Woodside Energy Ltd. requesting a detailed report on the recent oil spill at the Laminaria field in the Timor Sea.

Woodside reported on February 3 that a leak of about 300 barrels had occurred on January 18. The statement said that government authorities were notified immediately.

“The Timor-Leste Government has received no such notification from Woodside,” said Mr. Jose Teixeira, Secretary of State for Tourism, Investment and Environment.

“This is the second oil spill at this facility in three months, and in both cases we have received no information. Woodside claims that the January 18 oil spill had evaporated from the area two days after the spill. The Timor-Leste Government is concerned that we have received no independent assessment of these incidents and the impact on the environment.

“I have asked Woodside for a formal report and an outline of any remedial measures and further measures that are necessary to prevent any more spills re-occurring,” Mr. Teixeira added.

The Laminaria field lies 150km off the southern coast of Timor-Leste in a disputed area - an area of overlapping claims between Timor-Leste and Australia. The Government of Timor-Leste considers this area to be under its maritime jurisdiction. The distance to the Australian coastline according to Woodside is 350km.

“Irrespective of the dispute, what has to be considered is the fact that occurrences such as this, with a potential impact on coastal and marine environments, are more likely to affect Timor-Leste than Australia,” Mr. Teixeira said.

The Laminaria and adjacent Corallina fields have been in production since 1999. Woodside Energy Ltd. is the operator of the project. The Timor-Leste Government estimates that the fields have generated more than $2 billion in tax revenue paid to the Australian Government.

In a letter sent to Woodside in January last year the Government of Timor-Leste warned that failure to comply with relevant Timor-Leste laws governing petroleum activities will render Woodside Energy Ltd. liable to civil and criminal prosecution.

For further information contact: Paul Cleary 670 7234151; Manuel de Lemos, 670 7234154

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua D. Alberto Ricardo, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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