"With the support of the Opposition, legislation to ratify the Timor Sea Treaty passed through both Houses of Parliament, notwithstanding the attempts by the Democrats and the Greens to impede the progress of the Treaty which had already been passed by the democratically elected Government of East Timor – an independent nation," said Mr. Macfarlane.
Additionally, the Australian and East Timorese governments yesterday signed off on an International Unitization Agreement (IUA) for the Greater Sunrise gas field. "The Treaty and the IUA will deliver operational certainty for the Bayu Undan and the Greater Sunrise Joint Venture Partners who have been loudly champing at the bit to jump into these rich reserves.
"With goodwill on both sides, the Governments have delivered and it's now time for these companies to step up to the line.
"From this point forward I expect gas marketing, final development plans and construction to be their highest priorities," Mr. Macfarlane said.
"I will assist with marketing of gas however I can, particularly during my upcoming visit to China, Korea and Japan. But let me be absolute – get over the commercial wrangling and get on with the job. This is the line in the sand."
The Greater Sunrise gas field is estimated to contain almost 8.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The total value of the field is estimated at A$60 billion. Development of the field could see exports in excess of A$1.5 billion to Australia annually.
The Bayu-Undan joint partners, ConocoPhillps, Santos, AGIP and Inpex are poised for the development of that field while Woodside, Osaka Gas, Shell and ConocoPhillips are shareholders in the Greater Sunrise reserve.
The Timor Sea Treaty covers the Elang/Kakatua, Jahal and Krill oil fields as well as the Bayu-Udan, Kelp and Hingkip gas fields. These fall within the agreed Joint Petroleum Development Area, shared by Australia and East Timor. The Greater Sunrise reserve straddles the border between the Joint Area and Australian waters with 79.9 percent falling within the Australian jurisdiction and 21.1 percent in the Joint Area.
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