Australia moves on oil

Issue 

Australia moves on oil

By Richard Ingram

The Hawke government is moving swiftly to sell off Timorese oil following implementation of the Timor Gap treaty with Indonesia. Federal resources minister Alan Griffiths announced on April 9 that the government will release up to 21 new offshore oil exploration areas in May.

The areas will include three in the Australian-controlled "Area B" of the Timor Sea. "Up to 21 areas have been identified for inclusion in the May 1991 release of offshore exploration", he said.

In addition, the Timor Gap authority will begin dividing Area A, jointly controlled by Indonesia and Australia, into contract, or permit, areas, Griffiths said.

Portugal, which has never accepted the Indonesian takeover of East Timor, recently filed an application in the International Court of Justice challenging the legality of the Timor treaty. n