East Timor to block Woodside oil development plan

East Timor says it will block proposals by an Australian-led consortium to develop billions of dollars in disputed oil and gas.

East Timor Secretary of State Agio Pereira said in a statement obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press that proposals from Woodside Petroleum Ltd. to exploit the Greater Sunrise field "would not be approved by the government."

The announcement signals the failure of months of talks on how to tap 240 million barrels of light oil and 5.4 trillion cubic feet (154 billion cubic meters) of natural gas.

Woodside says the best commercial option is to run a pipeline to Darwin, northern Australia, or build a floating liquefied natural gas plant. Timor wants to create a new petrochemical industry on its shores to help develop its infant democracy and economy.