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Prime Minister
Timor-Leste Government


26 July 2004


The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste (East Timor), Mari Alkatiri today unveiled for public consultation a competitive and transparent legal regime for the development of petroleum resources in Timor-Leste.

The Timor-Leste Government is seeking comments on the draft laws and contracts from interested parties prior to finalization of the regime later this year.

Just over two years after the restoration of Timor-Leste’s independence, the Government of has developed a world-class model for onshore and offshore petroleum investment.

The draft Timor-Leste regime comprises:

  • the Timor-Leste Petroleum Law  

  • a model production sharing contract (PSC) to be entered into under the Timor-Leste Petroleum Law

  • the Timor-Leste Petroleum Tax Law

  • the Petroleum Mining Code for the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) subject to the Timor Sea Treaty

  • a model PSC to be entered into under the Petroleum Mining Code for the JPDA

The drafts can be downloaded from the Timor Sea Office website

In unveiling the set of documents, Prime Minister Alkatiri said:

“A Government working group has considered petroleum regimes in other countries with a view to creating a petroleum regime for Timor-Leste that is internationally competitive, stable, transparent and fair.  Now we are providing an opportunity for investors, civil society and other interested parties to review and comment on what we have developed.”

“I ask all interested parties to contribute constructively to this process as it is another milestone in Timor-Leste’s struggle for economic independence.”

Timor-Leste celebrated the start of production from the Bayu-Undan field in the JPDA with the ConocoPhillips joint venture earlier this year.  Production is expected to increase over the coming year and will be supplemented with the addition of gas exports to the Darwin LNG facility. The commercial arrangements underpinning this development were negotiated as a matter of priority by the new nation.

The proposed regime will enable Timor-Leste to work with qualified companies to develop resources in areas outside the JPDA.  To date, Timor-Leste has benefited only from petroleum development in the JPDA.

The Government plans to have a domestic regime in place in order to launch Timor-Leste’s first exploration round in early 2005.  This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement in June of an offshore seismic data acquisition round.  A formal Terms of Reference for this round was issued at the end of June and bids are expected to be received by the end of July. 

“Nothing is more important to the future of Timor-Leste than the proper management of the petroleum sector and the revenues derived from it.  These resources will give our people a real chance to break free from poverty and fully develop their potential.  But successful development will only come about if we properly manage these resources.”

“We realize that we must take every step to create processes for awarding petroleum rights that are competitive and transparent,” the Prime Minister said.

The Government of Timor-Leste has committed to establishing a Petroleum Fund for the management of petroleum revenues, and aims to introduce legislation for this purpose in the next year. 

Consistent with this policy of transparency, the drafts unveiled today for public consultation is designed to create a regime that is not only internationally competitive, but also open and fair.

Written comments on the drafts can be sent to the email address below no later than 21 September 2004.  A three-day public consultation for Timor-Leste civil society will be held in Dili in the week of August 23, 2004.

Corporate enquiries: Manuel de Lemos,; +670 723 4154
Media Enquiries: Paul Cleary,; +670 723 4151

Written submissions should be addressed to:

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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