The East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta has arrived in Australia as an official guest of the Albanese government after a diplomatic stoush over a deadlock between the East Timorese government and the Australian energy producer Woodside over the Greater Sunrise gas fields.
The fields are located approximately 450 kilometres (280 miles) northwest of Darwin and 150 kilometres south of Timor-Leste. It is estimated to be worth around $70 billion (US$50 billion) and holds around 226 million barrels of gas.
It has also been an ongoing point of contention between the Australian and East Timorese governments since 2004. Currently, the East Timorese government wants the pipeline from the field to run to an East Timorese coastal port. However, Woodside Energy has argued that the pipeline should run to Darwin.
Australia Called For Quiet DiplomacyWong initially responded to Ramos-Horta's comments during a joint press conference in Dili on Sept. 1 with Timor Leste Minister of Foreign Affairs Adaljiza Magno, by saying the government should engage in quieter diplomacy and avoid using the media for leverage.
She said that the Australian government recognised that Greater Sunrise was "an extremely important project for Timor-Leste," and it was "important to recognise, the joint venture partners will need to come to an agreement for that project to proceed."
Greater Sunrise Fields Economically Vital For East TimorWong has signalled that the Albanese government understood that Greater Sunrise was a critical issue for the East Timorese government as the country is about to face serious economic challenges after their preexisting energy fields run dry, which is predicted to occur sometime at the end of the year.
"They face some pretty serious economic challenges as revenue from an existing field runs out (this year), which will mean much less revenue for their government," she told ABC radio.
"We need to engage and discuss so that ... we can find a way to unstick it. I think that would be in the best interests of East Timor."
"Australia is committed to supporting Timor‑Leste’s economic development," Albanese said. "This visit will be an opportunity to further deepen this relationship and explore avenues for strengthened cooperation both bilaterally and in the region."