CONCERNS over terrorist activity and untested technologies are among the reasons Timor-Leste resources minister Alfredo Pires is attempting to dissuade the partners in the Greater Sunrise fields from developing them with a Floating LNG (FLNG) facility.

While located largely in Australian waters, roughly 20 per cent of the Sunrise and Troubador fields sit in the Join Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) between Australia and Timor Leste.

But development of the fields has been postponed by operator Woodside and joint venture partners ConocoPhillips, Shell and Osaka Gas until the Timor-Leste and Australian Governments agree on the legal, regulatory and fiscal regime applicable to the project.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call in February, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said the partners had exhausted the activities it could complete without an agreement.

The company and its partners are known to prefer FLNG as a development option, but the government of Timor-Leste has long campaigned for an onshore facility, to be developed in the nation.

Speaking at a luncheon at AOG 2015, Mr Pires said the government had spent over $20 million investigating that option.

“We have taken pipeline to FEED, we have taken the marine facilities to FEED, and we of course working on details of upstream and of course the LNG plant,” he said.

He added that he was still concerned about the unknowns of FLNG. “If we could locate even an example that could be looked at, because we have had a lot of studies be done, to see how that would affect us,” he said.

He added that security from terrorist activity was also a concern, adding that he had been unable to predict the costs of security over such a project.

That said, the decision to not proceed further until talks between the Australian and Timor-Leste governments were finalised was not welcomed.

“We are not so happy with that here because we need to keep on having a dialogue,” he said.

“We have been having a dialogue with Woodside for the past 12 months, and that was very productive. We would like to share that information because we will come to a point when we will have to make a decision.”

That time will come by 2026, when a production sharing contract over the fields is set to expire, putting the pressure on the companies to find a solution quickly.