The government of Timor-Leste has awarded a new production sharing contract for an offshore exploration block across the existing Chuditch gas discovery.

The country's regulator - the National Petroleum and Mining Authority (ANPM) - signed the contract for Block TL-SO-19-16 with a joint venture between privately-owned SundaGas and national oil company Timor Gap.

The permit was awarded following direct negotiations and covers 3571.49 square kilometres and has a seven-year exploration period, said the ANPM.

Work commitments in the initial three years include seismic reprocessing, geological and geophysical studies, and the drilling of one appraisal well if the result of the seismic reprocessing supports the presence of a significant structure associated with the Chuditch discovery, which is understood to contain potential gas-in-place of about 3 trillion cubic feet.