Santos Ltd said on Tuesday it will invest US$235 million in drilling three oil production wells in the Bayu-Undan field off the south coast of Timor-Leste.
The Australian company issued a written statement saying it expects the first well to begin producing oil in the third quarter of this year.
Santos says it also intends to exploit other reserves of oil and natural gas, so prolonging the useful lives of the Bayu-Undan field, production facilities offshore and the liquefied natural gas plant in the northern Australian city of Darwin.
The statement quotes Santos Managing Director Kevin Gallagher as pointing out the value of the investment to the Bayu-Undan joint venture and the people of Timor-Leste.
The biggest shareholders in Santos are two Chinese concerns, distributor of gas ENN Ecological Holdings Co. Ltd and private equity firm Hony Capital.