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Darwin will be used as a logistic hub for a Queensland company which has signed a landmark onshore oil and gas deal in East Timor.
The deal may also open the door for Darwin to establish an oil refinery.
Timor Resources Holdings has secured a 50 per cent interest in two onshore blocks, as part of a production sharing contract with Autoridade Nacional do Petróleo e Minerais, a government authority of East Timor.
It will commence operations transporting equipment and senior management through Darwin in the next few months. It is the first time in more than 40 years that an independent company has secured such rights.
Timor Resources managing director Suellen Osborne said successful exploration discovery in East Timor, located 475km north of Darwin, could open much bigger opportunities.
“We are searching for oil and if we are successful then the real question in the next couple of years is do we refine in Darwin or send it to Singapore,” she said.
“For that to occur Darwin will need to have a refinery.
“The East Timorese government has done baseline geoscience on what is there already.
“We already know that back in 2000 when the United Nations was drilling for water a number of the wells turned to oil so there is an expectation of success.”
Timor resources will spend a minimum of $60 million (US$45.5 million) on exploration during the next three years.
This may increase to $150 million (US$113 million) to bring production online depending on results.
Under the agreement, the company will work closely with the Timorese Government to explore 200,000ha.
Timor Resources’ general manager of exploration Mike Bucknill said: “We know there is oil in the area — the question now is how much?
“More than 60 oil seeps have been identified in the PSC area, and Blocks A and C encompass 2000 square kilometres.”
Timor Resources chairman, and Nepean founder, David Fuller said his team had been in discussions with the national oil company for more than six months.
“An investment of this size is always an enormous challenge. But beyond the potential economic benefits, this is a chance to really make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
SOURCE: NORTHERN TERRITORY NEWS/PACNEWS
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