Study: Sunrise project to benefit Australian-East Timor economy

The Center for International Economics says the $4.7 billion (Aus.) Sunrise-Troubadour-Sunset development project will create many new jobs, stimulate economic activity, and increase government revenue in Australia and East Timor.


The Center for International Economics (CIE) this week reported that the first phase of the $4.7 billion (Aus.) Sunrise-Troubadour-Sunset development project would create many new jobs, stimulate economic activity and increase government revenue in both Australia and East Timor. The project involves development of the Timor Sea fields and the building of a new methanol and syngas plant near Darwin, Australia, that would use that gas.

The study was funded jointly by Woodside Petroleum Ltd., operator of those fields, other field partners Shell Australia Ltd. and Methanex Corp., and the Northern Territory government. Phillips Petroleum Co. and Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. are also partners in the fields.

The CIE study said 5,410 jobs would be created directly or indirectly in Australia during the construction period alone. Some 3,400 jobs would be created around Australia and sustained during the operating life of the project, which is estimated in excess of 20 years.

Tax revenue would also increase, said CIE. The project also is expected to open up training and employment opportunities in East Timor, said CIE officials.

The biggest part of the outlay�$2.5 billion (Aus.)�would finance development of the Sunrise, Troubadour, and Sunset gas fields located some 500 km northwest of Darwin. That proposed Sunrise Gas Project would establish Australia's fourth major gas production hub in the Timor Sea, officials reported. The three fields hold an estimated 9.16 tcf of gas.

A portion of those fields lies in the Timor Gap Zone of Cooperation and will also benefit the new East Timor nation, officials said.

Earlier this year, Woodside and Shell signed a letter of intent with Methanex Corp. to deliver gas from that project to Methanex's proposed $1.5 billion (Aus.) plant to be built near Darwin (OGJ, Mar. 13, 2000, p. 30). That contract calls for delivery of 110 petajoules of gas annually, starting in 2005. The Sunrise project is on a tight development schedule to meet that deadline, officials said.

The project also would supply gas to the Australian communities of Darwin, Mataranka, Gove, and Mt. Isa, officials said. Some $700 million worth of new onshore pipelines would have to be built.

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