Timor Gap’s $15.9bn China loan “incorrect” Featured

President of Timor Gap in a photo group with his staffs in Timor Gap office Dili President of Timor Gap in a photo group with his staffs in Timor Gap office Dili Photo Timor Gap

Tempotimor (Dili) – The CEO of Timor Gap has rejected a widely-circulated report that Timor-Leste is about to borrow money from China to build the Tasi Mane Project..

Last Tuesday the national daily The Australian newspaper reported the Timor Gap was set to borrow $15.9bn from China’s state-owned Exim bank under a commercial loan, sparking alarm from some observers over whether that would allow a Chinese military presence just 500km from Darwin.

The Timor-Leste government recently took majority ownership of the project after buying out its former partners – ConocoPhillips and Shell – with the aim of ensuring the gas is piped to its southern shores instead of Australia’s. It is seeking finance partners to develop the untapped reserves in the Timor Sea, estimated to be worth around US$50bn

The Timor Gap CEO, Francisco da Costa Monteiro, told Tempo Timor it is talking to China, but is also canvassing investors and financial institutions in the US, Australia and other countries about financing the Tasi Mane project.

He said, The Australian’s news story specifically referred to the Timor Gap being about to sign a $US10 to $US12 billion in loans from Exim Bank and had rejected an offer of a US pension fund 

“That statement is incorrect. That statement is in accurate because it is not right. We indeed do have a need to search for finance for Tasi Mane Projects including the Greater Sunrise Development, particularly the Downstream and we have been approaching many investors, many financial institutions including China and other countries such as US and Australia,” he told Tempo Timor.

Although Timor Gap has negotiated with several investors in several countries, according to Monteiro, that until now he had not wanted to mention which countries are willing to lend to Timor-Leste.

“This is a commercially-sensitive matter, until all the financial discussions, negotiations and I don’t think I would prefer to reveal it now. I think that at this stage what we can say is that now we are working towards and developing the project, the Greater Sunrise. 

“We approached many banks to borrow the money.” 

He said that Timor Gap had no special preference to borrow money from anywhere, whether from China or from any country that was not problematic.

“Whoever it is doesn’t matter. It’s from China or US, Australia, Europe or Indonesia it’s doesn’t matter as long as they willing to lend us the money in competitive terms.”


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Last modified on Wednesday, 03 July 2019 09:15
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