Timor-Leste

EITI Status Suspended for missing deadline
EITI Member Since 2007
Latest Data From 2013

Overview

Timor-Leste’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas.   According to the latest EITI Report, the oil sector accounted for 76% of the country’s GDP and 98% of exports in 2013. The top five producing companies already account for 97% of government revenues. Production is rapidly declining and exploration activities are limited, giving rise to discussions on the need for economic diversification. Timor-Leste’s revenues are currently under pressure by low oil prices, but the impact on budget may not be that dramatic in the short-term as return on petroleum fund investments can cover the budget deficit. Nonetheless, there is considerable public debate about expenditure and exceeding the annual allowable amount that can be withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund.   

All of Timor-Leste's revenue from the oil sector – USD 3.05 billion in 2013 according to the 2013 EITI Report - is deposited in the Petroleum Fund, which amounted to US $16.5 billion in March 2016  (www.eiti.tl). The EITI Reports track how much of the Petroleum Fund is transferred annually to Timor-Leste's budget.

Extractive industries contribution

  • 76 %
    to GDP
  • 98 %
    to exports
  • 2 %
    to employment
  • 97 %
    to government revenue

Beneficial ownership disclosure

Timor-Leste’s 2013 EITI Report states that most companies operating in the country are publicly listed. It gives listings information for the key operators in the country: Conoco Phillips, ENI and Woodside. Nonetheless, the MSWG is currently finalising the draft beneficial ownership roadmap that aims at documenting list of actions towards full beneficial ownership disclosures of extractive companies in Timor-Leste. 

Transparency is now a baseline for us. The expanded reporting under the EITI Standard allows us to delve deeper into more qualitative issues, which should highlight the strong investment potential in our extractive industries.
Alfredo Pires, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources

Production

Oil and gas production in 2013 declined by 12% compared to 2012, mainly due to depletion of the Kitan field. With Kitan's closure in 2015, Bayu-Undan is the only remaining producing field in Timor-Leste. According to forecasts in the EITI Report, operations at Bayu-Undan will last until 2022. There is limited exploration activity. According to the National Petroleum Authorities, five development wells were drilled in 2014. Whilst some wells were immediately brought on-stream, others were unsuccessful.  

Hydrocarbons accounted for 98% of exports in 2013.

Natural resources

Timor-Leste’s main resources are oil and gas. To date all exploration and production has taken place offshore in the Timor Sea. The Greater Sunrise gas fields could yield US$15 bn or so over 30 years, but there is no agreement yet on how to develop the field.

Timor-Leste also has undeveloped mineral resources including copper, gold, silver and chromite. However, these minerals have to date been difficult to access given the poor infrastructure in the country and the lack of a legal framework. The government is currently working on a Mineral Policy.

Revenue collection

The latest EITI disclosures (2013) show that Timor-Leste received US $3.042 billion from oil and gas. The reduction in revenue was mainly due to falling production as well as a reduction of income tax payments and penalties. Revenues were mainly collected through profit oil and gas (57%) and income tax (19%). The hydrocarbon sector accounted for 76% of GDP in 2013.

Initializing chart.

Revenue allocation

All of Timor-Leste’s oil and gas revenue is deposited in the Petroleum Fund. Of the total Petroleum Fund receipts of USD 3.042 billion in 2013, USD 730 million was transferred to the budget. The 2013 EITI Report shows that for the first time, the withdrawals from the Petroleum Fund to finance the state budget – USD 760m - were less than the investment return. There are no sub-national payments or transfers.

Policy recommendations and reforms

The 2013 EITI Report revealed that the recommendations presented in the 2012 EITI Report were not followed through and suggested that the Timor-Leste’s multi-stakeholder group follows through with the recommendations presented. It also suggested that the TL multi-stakeholder group considers an establishment of a database with all extractive companies operating in the oil sector.

Innovations

The EITI encourages multi-stakeholder groups to explore innovative approaches to make the EITI more relevant and useful.

The EITI process in Timor-Leste has been useful in disclosing the status of the Petroleum Fund and how it is transferred to the national budget.  Looking ahead, stakeholders in Timor-Leste have suggested that the EITI could add more value if it covered budget execution, verifying that the money is spent on what it is supposed to be spent on.

With its current efforts to entrench transparency in government systems, Timor-Leste could lead the way in mainstreaming EITI disclosures. There are several examples of how government agencies are making data about the extractive sector transparent through government websites and other routine disclosures. The Transparency Portal that was created by the government of Timor-Leste links EITI implementation to wider transparency and accountability in the country. This includes a Budget Transparency Portal which gives an oversight to budget expenditure. Up-to-date information on the legal framework, licensing, contracts, production, social expenditures and non-tax revenues is also available through the website of the ANPM. The Petroleum Fund  website contains quarterly reports on revenues and the overall status of the fund, as well as annual reports that include budget allocations. Timor Gap’s website has information on the financial situation of the company as well as other activities.  The government of Timor-Leste has expressed strong interest in continuing mainstreaming transparency.

Implementation

On 1 March Timor-Leste was suspended for failing to meet reporting deadline of the EITI 2014 Report (the deadline was 31 December 2016). In accordance with the EITI Standard, the suspension will be lifted if Timor Leste is able to publish an EITI Report by 30 June 2017. 

In January 2017, Timor-Leste was found to have achieved meaningful progress in implementing the EITI Standard. View more information under the Validation section of this page or go to the Board's decision in full. Previously, the country was compliant under the 2011 Rules.

The multi-stakeholder group (MSWG) approved a work plan for 2016 on 4 March 2016 which contains the following priorities:

  1.  Ensure publication of TL EITI report in a timely manner and in accordance with the EITI Standard;
  2.  Encourage discussions on transparency in public expenditures, including investment decisions, focusing on economic diversification;
  3.  Reform the legal framework and maintain contract transparency within extractive industries and other revenues generated in Timor-Leste; and
  4.  Institutional development for TL EITI secretariat, including capacity building for the MSG and outreach activities

 

Governance

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources oversees EITI implementation in Timor-Leste. Alfredo Pires, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is the EITI Champion and Chair of the MSG. The EITI coordinator, Ms Elda Guterres da Silva, supports implementation on a day-to-day basis. The Multi-Stakeholder Working Group (MSWG) is composed of five civil society representatives, four industry representatives and eight government representatives. A list of MSWG members is available in the 2015 Annual Activity Report. Minutes are available from the TL-EITI website. No changes in law were needed for EITI to take place in Timor-Leste, nor were special Memoranda of Understanding required between government and industry for this purpose. However, the MSG is currently involved in drafting an EITI law.

Timeline

Validation

Timor-Leste was found to have made meaningful progress in meeting the EITI Standard on 11 January 2017. The country needs to take corrective actions on a number of requirements and will be validated again on 11 January, 2018.

Timor-Leste's progress by requirement can be found in the scorecard below.

Timor-Leste's progress by requirement