Timor-Leste is keen to import liquefied natural gas with the aim of initially using the fuel for power generation.

National oil company Timor Gap, which is embarking on studies to examine the feasibility of supplying natural gas to a trio of power plants, has awarded Wood Group Kenny a lump-sum feasibility study to support its LNG import ambitions.

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Timor Gap said that Timor-Leste’s industrial development would depend upon “a secure and competitively priced energy source” and therefore implementation of an LNG import facility would be an important national infrastructure project.

The country’s electricity is currently delivered by three main power plants at Hera, Betano and Oe-Cusse located on the north and south coasts of the island.

The studies include identifying potential supply sources of LNG, identifying possible locations for a receiving and regasification facility and performing a site selection assessment.

Concept design

Wood will also help to develop a concept design for an LNG import terminal and associated regasification facilities and perform geotechnical and geophysical surveys to support development of the terminal’s design.

Timor Gap’s downstream business unit and Wood will too study the mode of delivery of regasified volumes to the power plants and estimate the capital and operating cost estimates for the terminal and natural gas distribution.

Wood’s six-month contract has a fixed price of US$720,825.56.

US funding sought

In addition, Timor Gap is in discussion with the US Embassy for potential support through its Transaction Advisory Fund programme for financing and delivery of the environmental impact assessment and surveys for an LNG import terminal.

The Hera and Betano power plants that were installed a decade ago are equipped with Wartsila 18V46 generators currently configured to utilise light fuel oil.

The Inur Sakato (Oe-Cusse) power plant was installed in 2015 and is equipped with Wartsila 34DF generators, also configured for light fuel oil.

All the generators supplied by Finnish contractor Wartsila can be converted to use natural gas of feedstock.

“Conversion of the power plants to fire on natural gas would achieve significant reductions to both fuel supply cost and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Timor Gap.

“A reduction of annual expenditure on fuel import and improvement to environmental impact presents a compelling case to examine the investment required for conversion.”

The Ministry of Public Works, through Eletricidade de Timor-Leste, is committed to implement the gas conversion of the Hera and Betano power plants.

Meanwhile, the president of the Authority of Regiao Administrativa Especial de Oe-Cusse Ambeno has conveyed his support on the conversion plan for Inur Sakato power plant.