Central & SE Asia / Australasia

Timor Leste flag
Summary | Profile

Country profile: Timor Leste

Location: Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Terrain: mountainous
Size: 15007 sq. km total (Land area: 0 sq. km )
Population: 1,108,777
Languages: Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Government: republic
Capital city: Dili
Legal system: UN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law remains in place but is to be replaced by civil and penal codes based on Portuguese law; these have passed but have not been promulgated; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: US dollar (USD)

Country profile

The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives.

On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. Between the referendum and the arrival of a multinational peacekeeping force in late September 1999, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees.

The majority of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In late April 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order in Dili. At the request of the Government of Timor-Leste, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste in late May.

In August, the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. In subsequent months, many of the ISF soldiers were replaced by UN police officers; approximately 80 ISF officers remained as of January 2008. From April to June 2007, the Government of Timor-Leste held presidential and parliamentary elections in a largely peaceful atmosphere with the support and assistance of UNMIT and international donors.

Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Production: 94,420 bbl/day (2005)  
Reserves:   200 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Major fields:

Timor Leste - recent news

17 Jun 20
Timor Leste: TGS announces 2Dcubed seismic project to cover license round acreage offshore Timor-Leste
TGS has announced that in collaboration with the ANPM, it has commenced a 2Dcubed seismic data project covering offshore Timor-Leste, in support of the country’s ongoing license round.
22 Apr 20
Timor Leste: Baron Oil announces execution of Shareholders' Agreement with SundaGas
Baron Oil has executed a Shareholders' Agreement with SundaGas Resources regarding the TL-SO-19-16 Production Sharing Contract (the 'Chuditch PSC'), offshore Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
05 Feb 20
Timor Leste: Baron Oil provides information on the 1998 Chuditch-1 discovery offshore Timor Leste
Baron Oil has provided information on the 1998 Chuditch-1 discovery offshore Timor Leste in which it is entitled to an indirect net 25 percent interest through its entitlement to a one third shareholding in Singapore-based SundaGas.
11 Nov 19
Timor Leste: SundaGas signs the TL-SO-19-16 PSC, offshore Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Timor Leste's Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals has signed a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) TL-SO-19-16 with SundaGas and TIMOR GAP, E.P. the national oil company of Timor-Leste. The concession contains the Chuditch gas discovery.
01 Oct 19
Timor Leste to announce Open Door Licensing Round
Timor Leste plans to announce the 1st onshore and the 2nd offshore Licensing Rounds on October 3 at the Timor-Leste Oil & Gas Summit at the Dili Convention Center, Timor Leste.

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