Assistance in developing the management of the petroleum sector in Timor-Leste


Cooperating institutions
Timor-Leste State Secretariat for Natural Resources (SERN ) Timor-Leste Ministry of Finance (MoF) Timor-Leste State Secretariat for the Environment (SEMA)

Goals and objectives
The goal of the project is to assist the Government of Timor-Leste in managing its petroleum activities in such a way that the petroleum sector delivers the greatest possible benefit to the people of Timor-Leste.

The purpose is to increase competence and capacity of the authorities of Timor-Leste so that the public sector can manage all petroleum activities, in particular within technical, legal, health, safety and environment (HSE) compliance, and in revenue management.

Project period

Total budget
NOK 67.2 million

The programme consists of the following main components:

  • Resource management
  • Legal advice
  • Revenue management
  • Financial management
  • Environmental management
  • Education and training
  • Data management
  • Technical assistance

Oil for Development:
Ms. Liv Marte Nordhaug, lino@norad.no
Mr. Trond Hjørungdal, trhj@norad.no

Cooperating institutions in Norway
Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE)
Ministry of Finance (MoF)
Ministry of the Environment (MoE)
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD)



Country facts Map

Official Name
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste


Chief of state
President Jose Ramos-Horta

Head of Government
Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

1 131 612 (2009)

Petroleum sector, key figures
Timor-Leste exclusive area: Ongoing exploration activities; no oil or gas production (2009) Timor Sea JPDA (see below):
Average oil production: 97 500 bbl/d
Natural Gas Liquid and light oil (condensate) (2009)
Average gas production: 16 mill m3 per day (2009)

Orga nization of the sector:
State Secretariat of Natural Resources
– responsible for petroleum policy, execution and follow-up, including HSE issues within sovereign Timor-Leste.

The Timor Sea Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) is administered by the Timor-Leste National Petroleum Authority (ANP) under a Treaty between Timor- Leste and Australia. Timor-Leste gets 90% of the tax income and state petroleum share from the JPDA, Australia 10%.

Petroleum Fund 
The size of the Petroleum Fund was almost USD 5.4 billion at the end of 2009.


Brief history of the project

Discussions between the interim government of Timor-Leste and Norwegian authorities on support in developing the energy sector started in 2001. An agreement for the first programme was signed in February 2003 and the institutional cooperation contract between the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NP D) and the Ministry of Development and Environment was signed in September the same year. In 2006, the programme was expanded to include support to the public petroleum finance sector.

A new cooperation programme was discussed and prepared during 2007 and 2008, and a Programme Agreement for a new phase of cooperation between Norway and Timor-Leste was signed on 20 May 2008. The phase II programme includes support within resource, environment and revenue management.

A Programme Coordinator was hired to coordinate the total activities of the programme both on the Timor- Leste and the Norwegian side. The programme has made extensive use of resident advisors.


Activities in 2009

Human resources
Five Timorese Master students are currently in Norway. Four students started in August 2009 and one is about to complete his Master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering. Three Timorese are also undertaking studies in Australia. One student finished his bachelor degree and moved on to post-graduate studies, the two other undergraduate students are continuing with their programme in Australia.

One person participated in Petrad’s eight-week programme on Petroleum Policy and Resource Management.

Resource management
Det Norske Veritas (DNV) conducted a verification of the feasibility of a gas pipeline crossing the Timor Trough upon request from SERN and financed by OfD. The National Petroleum Authority (ANP) was given support on resource assessment and geological advice, data management/archive system, management of existing production sharing contracts (PSCs), development of rules and regulations, and assessment of the Concept Screening Report for the Sunrise field. The ANP was also provided assistance in reviewing the submitted field development plan for the Kitan Field from Eni. Seminars and workshops were arranged in Dili on National Oil Companies (NOC), Field Development Plan for Kitan (two workshops), Fiscal Measurement of Oil and Gas, and Data and Document Management and IT solutions.

Financial management
Progress was made in terms of diversifying the Petroleum Fund portfolio, including hiring the Fund’s first external manager. Considerable work was undertaken on amendments of the Petroleum Fund Law, which will be submitted to the Parliament in 2010. Work within the Ministry of Finance progressed according to plan and included calculating the petroleum wealth, and sustainable income and petroleum tax operations. In the Directorate of Petroleum Revenue procedures were implemented to mitigate legal constraints on getting access to taxpayers’ accounts in their domiciled countries. Qualified counterparts were recruited within the National Directorate of the Petroleum Fund during Q4 2009. OfD assisted the Timor-Leste government in their process towards becoming Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) compliant.

Work within environmental management did not progress as required. Output has so far been limited to financing of English training for staff in the Environmental Department, and to discussing a ToR for an environmental adviser.


Key achievements in 2009

The two-day conference on National Oil Companies had contributions from six countries and more than 100 participants from the government, media and civil society. The conference involved frank and relevant discussions on key resource management and governance topics.

The students who have been recruited through the petroleum sector human resource development programme are progressing well in their various degree studies in Norway and Australia. One student is about to complete his Master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering and is expected to start working in the Timor-Leste public petroleum sector soon.

Timor-Leste’s first EITI Report was launched in December 2009. The country is on track with regard to achieving status as an EITI compliant country within the first half of 2010, and will probably be the first OfD bilateral cooperation country to become compliant (the OfD regional cooperation country Liberia has already been granted this status).


Timor-Leste. Photo: Abryl Ramirez

Timor-Leste. Photo: Abryl Ramirez

Timor-Leste. Photo: Abryl Ramirez

Timor-Leste. Photo: Abryl Ramirez

Timor-Leste. Photo:Abryl Ramirez

Timor-Leste. Photo:Abryl Ramirez