East Timor is searching for partners to assist with developing its oil and gas reserves, according to Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.
China and Malaysia are among those countries where help is being sought. Alkatiri said he and his delegation had shared ideas and experiences with executives from Petronas during talks on Monday. "It was really a very productive meeting," he said in a statement.
East Timor and Australia signed the Timor Gap treaty in May of this year, however, the agreement will not be ratified until the maritime boundary issue has been resolved. The treaty gives East Timor 90 percent of royalties from the Timor Gap and Australia 10 percent, a estimated to bring in more than $1 billion.
Alkatiri said his country had also struck an agreement with PetroChina allowing the Chinese oil major to survey onshore areas for further reserves. "After (getting) the data, we will have our petroleum and mining law in place and will issue licenses. We know that we have oil," he said. The impoverished country is keen to attract investment to help build its economy.