Timor-Leste

EITI Status Satisfactory progress
Joined EITI in 2008
Latest Data From 2015
Latest Validation 2018
Last updated 1 July 2019

Overview

Timor-Leste’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas. According to the latest EITI Report, the oil sector accounted for 48% of the country’s GDP, 97% of exports and 46% of total imports in 2015. 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 the budget may not be that dramatic in the short-term as returns on petroleum fund investments can cover the budget deficit. Nonetheless, there is considerable public debate about expenditure exceeding the annual allowable amount that can be withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund.

All of Timor-Leste's revenue from the oil sector – USD979 million in 2015 according to the 2015 TL-EITI Report - is deposited in the Petroleum Fund, which has a balance of USD17.1 billion in September 2018 (www.eiti.tl). The EITI Reports track how much of the Petroleum Fund is transferred annually to Timor-Leste's budget.

Extractive industries contribution

  • 48 %
    to GDP
  • 97 %
    to exports
  • 2 %
    to employment
  • 85 %
    to government revenue

Beneficial ownership disclosure

Timor-Leste’s EITI Reports state that most extractive companies operating in the country are publicly listed. While there is no publicly available register of beneficial owners of corporate entities in the Timor-Leste, the 2015 TL-EITI Report lists the beneficial owners of companies covered by the Report including a link to investor information for each company.

In March 2017, the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group (MSWG) published a beneficial ownership roadmap, which documents activities and actions toward full beneficial ownership disclosures of extractive companies in the country.

Production

Oil and gas production in Timor-Leste has declined since 2012 mainly due to natural depletion of the Bayu-Undan field and the closure of Kitan field in December 2015. There is limited exploration activity. According to the National Petroleum and Mineral Authority, five development wells were drilled in 2014. Whilst some wells were immediately brought on-stream, others were unsuccessful.  On 23 December 2015, TIMOR GAP signed its second PSC to begin exploration offshore.

In 2015, all of Timor-Leste's oil and gas was produced in Bayu Undan and Kitan oil fields, which are located in the JPDA. The oil sector accounts for 97% of the country’s total exports and 46% of total imports.

Natural resources

Timor-Leste’s main resources are oil and gas. To date, all exploration and production have taken place offshore in the Timor Sea. One of the major discoveries in the Timor Sea is the Greater Sunrise field, which is partly located within the JPDA and partly outside the JPDA within Australia’s exclusive jurisdiction.

Timor-Leste also has undeveloped mineral resources including copper, gold, silver and chromite. These minerals have been difficult to access given the poor infrastructure in the country. On 19 February 2014, the government improved the mining licensing process through the amendment of the Ministerial Diploma No. 1/2008. This resulted in a significant increase in the number of mining licenses in 2015. 

Oil and gas production

Initializing chart.

Revenue collection

The latest EITI disclosures show that in 2015, Timor Leste received a total of USD1,042 million revenue from the oil and gas sector, including subcontractors. Compared to the revenue generated by the oil and gas sector in 2014, this figure represents a decrease of USD854 million. The decrease in revenue was mainly due to the fall in oil prices and a decrease in production. Revenues were mainly collected by Autoridade Nacional do Petróleo e Minerais (57.6%) and Direção Nacional de Receitas Petrolíferas (41.8%).

Initializing chart.

Revenue allocation

All of Timor-Leste’s oil and gas revenue is deposited in the Petroleum Fund. Majority of the funds are invested abroad in financial assets. Of the total Petroleum Fund receipts of USD1,279 million in 2015, USD979 million was transferred to the State General Budget. The latest TL-EITI Report states that there was a USD321 million decrease in the Fund’s balance in 2015, which is the first annual decline since the Fund’s inception in 2005. The net investment loss of USD21 million contributed to the decline in the Fund’s balance for the year.

Policy recommendations and reforms

The 2015 TL-EITI Report notes that there are only two remaining recommendations that have not been implemented. These are the establishment of a database of all extractive companies operating in the oil sector and the enactment of an EITI Law.

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. Timor Leste is considering moving towards mainstreaming of EITI data and has worked with the International Secretariat in conducting a feasibility study for mainstreaming. The  government maintains a Transparency Portal which links EITI implementation to wider transparency and accountability in the country. This includes a Budget Transparency Portal which gives 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. 

Implementation

In accordance with the EITI Standard, Timor-Leste was suspended on 1 March 2017 for failing to publish the 2014 EITI Report by 31 December 2016. After the publication of the said report, the suspension was lifted on 29 June 2017.

In January 2017, Timor-Leste was found to have achieved meaningful progress in implementing the EITI Standard and the MSWG was given until 11 April 2017 to submit an action to plan to address the corrective actions relating to industry engagement and civil society engagement. On 14 February 2018, the EITI Board found that Timor-Leste addressed all corrective actions and has made satisfactory progress in implementing the 2016 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 MSWG published their 2018 work plan on 4 May 2018. The work plan contains the following objectives:

  1. to implement the recommendation from the last Validation in enhancing EITI principles in Timor-Leste;
  2. To ensure the publication of EITI Report in a timely manner and in accordance with EITI Standard 2016;
  3. To encourage discussions on transparency in public expenditures, including investment decisions focus on economic diversification;
  4. To encourage discussions on legal framework and maintain contract transparency within extractive industries and other revenues generated in Timor-Leste; and
  5. To enhance EITI institutional development include capacity building for MSWG and National Secretariat members

Governance

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources oversees EITI implementation in Timor-Leste. Currently, the MSWG is composed of seven civil society representatives, four industry representatives, seven government representatives and two representatives of state-owned enterprises. A list of MSWG members is available in the 2017 annual progress report of Timor-Leste EITI. Minutes of all MSWG meetings since 2007 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 between stakeholders required for this purpose. Nevertheless, the MSWG recommends enacting an EITI law.

 

Timeline

Validation

Timor-Leste was found to have made satisfactory progress in meeting the EITI Standard on 14 February 2018. The country was previously found to have made meaningful progress on 11 January 2017 during the First Validation. Timor-Leste took corrective actions on a number of requirements and achieved satisfactory progress during the Second Validation.

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

Timor-Leste's progress by requirement

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Scorecards show the outcomes of Validation. Arrows of progress indicate where the International Secretariat has re-assessed a requirement following a corrective action in a second or third Validation.