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Moving towards Timor Sea certainty.

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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

  20 May 2002 02/093



  Today�s signing of a Treaty and Memorandum of Understanding with the East Timorese government delivers a much-waited sense of certainty to Australia�s natural gas sector.

The Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, welcomed the Treaty which will be formally signed in Dili later today, East Timor�s first day of independence. Negotiations on the draft arrangement started almost a year ago.

"It�s a significant day for East Timor and a substantial step forward to a unitisation agreement over the Greater Sunrise reserve which sits partly in the Joint Petroleum Development Area between Australia and East Timor," said Mr Macfarlane.

Sunrise has some 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, an estimated supply life of about 30 years. The Memorandum of Understanding commits both governments to finalising a Sunrise unitisation agreement by the end of the year.

"A speedy and satisfactory resolution to the Sunrise issue is one of my personal priorities. This Treaty was managed in the best of harmonious working relations and I�m sure that good faith will flow into the Sunrise talks," said Mr Macfarlane.

"The abundant supply and resource potential of the Timor Sea could see natural gas become our primary energy source in the near future. These agreements have to be carefully negotiated for the long-term good of industry and international relations."   CMR02-128  

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