JAKARTA (RambuEnergy.com) – The East Timor government has notified Australia that it wishes to terminate a 2006 treaty that carves up future revenue from the Greater Sunrise oil and gas reserve in the Timor Sea.
The two countries announced the move in a joint statement on Monday and the treaty will cease in three months, Australian Associated Press reported.
East Timor and Australia are participating in conciliation proceedings in The Hague over the ongoing maritime boundary dispute.
The statement also announces both countries have confirmed a commitment to negotiate permanent maritime boundaries under the auspices of the conciliation commission.
“The governments of Australia and Timor-Leste remain committed to their close relationship and continue to work together on shared economic, development and regional interests,” the statement said.
There will be confidential meetings held over the course of the year between representatives from both countries and the commission.
The statement said Australia and East Timor had agreed to “an integrated package of measures to facilitate the conciliation process”, which included abandoning the deal.
The two countries have been locked in an ongoing disagreement over maritime borders in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, related to access to oil and gas deposits worth an estimated $40 billion.
Australia lost its bid to stop East Timor from forcing compulsory conciliation in The Hague in September last year, months after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected calls for fresh negotiations.
East Timor has long argued the border should sit halfway between it and Australia, placing most of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in their territory.
In 1989 Australia and Indonesia signed the Timor Gap Treaty when East Timor was still under Indonesia.
East Timor was left with no permanent maritime border and Indonesia and Australia got to share the wealth in what was known as the Timor Gap.
In 2002 East Timor gained independence and the Timor Sea Treaty was signed, but no permanent maritime border was negotiated.
In 2006, the CMATS treaty was signed, but no permanent border was set, and instead it ruled that revenue from the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field would be split evenly between the two countries. (*)
Sources : AAP, ABC