Last update:
2019-11-01

Suai Supply Base and airport as a part of Tasi Mane Project (TMP), Timor-Leste

Suai Supply Base and Suai Airport are the first components of a planned oil infrastructure corridor. The Environmental Impact Assessment was inadequate and many people who lost their homes and farming livelihoods for the project have not been compensated.


Description:

Suai Supply Base and Suai Airport, located in Kamanasa (Camanasa), are the first components of the Tasi Mane Project (TMP), a planned corridor of petroleum infrastructure along the southwest coast of Timor-Leste. The Suai Supply Base project comprises a logistics supply base, industrial estate, and a new town ‘Nova Suai’. The Suai Airport project involved upgrading and expanding an existing airstrip. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Suai Supply Base and Suai Airport was inadequate and many people affected by land acquisition have still not been compensated for the loss of their homes and agricultural livelihoods. The first phase of a highway linking Suai Supply Base and airport with the other TMP sites in Betano and Beacu has been constructed and extends eastward from Suai. La’o Hamutuk, an independent non-governmental organization monitoring, analysing and reporting on development processes in Timor-Leste has investigated the Suai Supply Base project in depth including conducting several site visits.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Suai Supply Base and airport as a part of Tasi Mane Project (TMP), Timor-Leste
Country:Timor-Leste
State or province:Covalima District
Location of conflict:Suco Camanasa
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Ports and airport projects
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Suai Supply Base is the first component of the Tasi Mane Project (TMP), a corridor of petroleum infrastructure along the southwest coast of Timor-Leste requiring significant land expropriation. The three key elements of the Strategic Development plan are large-scale developments at Suai, Betano and Viqueque. Suai Supply Base comprises a logistics supply base, industrial estate, Suai Airport (upgrading and expanding an existing airstrip) and a new town. The other key components of TMP are a refinery, petrochemical plant and new city at Betano called ‘Nova Betano’, plus a liquefied natural gas plant, a second new airport and a new town at Beacu which is located a few kilometres to the east of the city of Viqueque. Under the TMP plan the three sites are to be linked by a 155 kilometer highway. The first phase of this highway has been constructed and extends eastward along the coast from Suai Supply Base.[2]

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Level of Investment:863,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:420 households (approx)
Start of the conflict:09/2011
Company names or state enterprises:TimorGAP from Timor-Leste - Assists the Government of Timor-Leste in achieving the implementation of the Tasi Mane Project, comprising Suai Supply Base, Betano Refinery, Beaco LNG Plant and a highway linking the three centres
Hyundai Engineering & Construction from Republic of Korea - Awarded USD719.2 million contract to design and build Suai Supply Base in June 2015. Four months later Timor-Leste's Audit Court rejected the contract, then on 10 November the Council of Ministers decided to appeal the court's decision. The contract was not approved and the company withdrew from the Suai Supply Base project in June 2016.[1]
PT Waskita Karya from Indonesia - Awarded USD67.6 million contract to upgrade Suai Airport in November 2013. In July 2014 an additional USD19 million was added to Waskita Karya’s contract.[1]
WorleyParsons from Australia - Awarded USD1.1 million contract in November 2011 to develop Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Tasi Mane project including Suai Supply Base
Jurutera Perunding Zaaba Sdn Bhd from Malaysia - Awarded contracts to supervise Suai Airport project: USD900,000 in 2012 to design the airport, then USD 1 million in 2014 and a further USD 800,000 in 2015 to supervise the project[1]
Banco Nacional de Comércio de Timor-Leste from Timor-Leste - Payments for land acquisition for Suai Supply Base and Suai Airport in 2014[1]
McDermott Aviation from Australia - Operates helicopter transport from Suai Airport to oil platforms[3]
Northern Oil & Gas Australia (NOGA) from Australia - Began operating flights between Suai Airport and Darwin Airport on 28th September 2018 , the air link supports human resource operations for oil platforms in the Timor Sea[3]
Toke Oil & Gas SA - Awarded USD1,299,141 contract for offshore ground investigation and bathymetric surveys in three inshore areas at Suai and Beacu on 21st May 2010[1]
PT. Bexcellent Mitra Cemerlang - Awarded USD 1.181,065 contract for spatial design planning for southern coast of Timor-Leste including Suai district in December 2010[1]
PT. DSI Makmur Sejahtera - Awarded USD900.000 contract for spatial design planning for southern coast of Timor-Leste including Suai district in December 2010[1]
Covek-CRFG from China - Construction of first section of Suai-Beacu highway[6]
Eastlog Holding Pte Ltd from Singapore - Singapore based company which operates in the management of companies and enterprises Awarded USD3.4 million contract for commercial and feasibility studies and Front-End Engineering Design, a USD6.6 million contract for the first phase of Suai Supply Base and a USD6.68 million contract for consultancy services to prepare and execute selection of a contractor for implementation of Suai Supply Base and supervision of the construction phase.[1]
Relevant government actors:Government of Timor-Leste
Covalima Municipality
State Secretariat of Natural Resources (SERN)
State Secretariat for Environment (SEMA)
Administration of Airports and Air Navigation of Timor-Leste (ANATL)
National Procurement Commission
National Directorate of Land, Property and Cadastral Services
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:La’o Hamutuk - https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/TasiMane/13SSBen.htm
Luta Hamutuk (Struggle Together)[2]
Hak Azasi Mamusia (HAK)[4]
HASATIL – (Strengthening Sustainable Agriculture in Timor-Leste)[4]
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Oil spills, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other Health impacts, Malnutrition
Other Health impactsIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Violations of human rights, Militarization and increased police presence
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Migration/displacement
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The EIA for Suai Supply Base and Suai Airport was inadequate and land acquisition was marked by poor consultation with some reports of pressure and intimidation. Many affected people were dissatisfied with a poorly understood land deal offering them USD3 per meter of land. Approximately 420 households lost their homes and agricultural land and livelihoods for the project and many have yet to be compensated. People who have been resettled in government built houses say their homes are unsuitable for the hot climate and they do not have land to replace their crop planting and rearing of animals.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Tasi Mane Project – Suai Supply Base, Environmental Impact Assessment, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, Worley Parsons, TIMOR GAP, E.P., Republica Democratia de Timor-Leste Secretaria de Estado dos Recursos Naturais, May 2012
[click to view]

Tasi Mane Project – Suai Supply Base, Environmental Impact Assessment, Final Report Volume 2 – Main Report Part B, Worley Parsons, TIMOR GAP, E.P., Republica Democratia de Timor-Leste Secretaria de Estado dos Recursos Naturais, May 2012
[click to view]

Tasi Mane Project – Suai Supply Base, Environmental Impact Assessment, Final Report Volume 3 – Attachments, Worley Parsons, TIMOR GAP, E.P., Republica Democratia de Timor-Leste Secretaria de Estado dos Recursos Naturais, May 2012
[click to view]

Tasi Mane Project – Suai Supply Base, Environmental Impact Assessment, Final Report Volume 1 – Main Report Part A, Worley Parsons, TIMOR GAP, E.P., Republica Democratia de Timor-Leste Secretaria de Estado dos Recursos Naturais, May 2012
[click to view]

Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Article 54
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Meabh Cryan, Dispossession and Impoverishment in Timor-Leste: Potential Impacts of the Suai Supply Base, SSGM (State Society & Governance in Melanesia) Discussion Paper, Australian National University, 2015
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] The Suai Supply Base, part of the Tasi Mane South Coast Petroleum Infrastructure Project, 25 April 2013, Updated 2 April 2019, La’o Hamutuk
[click to view]

[3] First international flight at Suai Airport, Governmnet of Timor-Leste, 28 September 2018
[click to view]

[5] Oil and gas is Timor-Leste's ticket to prosperity. Is this impoverished nation blowing its one chance?, ABC News, 22 July 2019
[click to view]

[4] Voices: Tasi Mane Petroleum Project Brings Concern, Optimism to Timor-Leste’s Southern Coast, Earth Journalism Network (EJN), 11 March 2019
[click to view]

[6] Big-spending China Inc waits patiently in East Timor, on Australia's doorstep, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 September 2019
[click to view]

Other documents

Map of Tasi Mane Project including Suai Supply Base Suai Supply Base is the first component of the Tasi Mane Project (TMP), a corridor of petroleum infrastructure along the southwest coast of Timor-Leste. Source: La’o Hamutuk https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/TasiMane/13SSBen.htm
[click to view]

Map showing Suai Supply Base development area, including Suai Airport Source: Tasi Mane Project – Suai Supply Base, Environmental Impact Assessment, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, Worley Parsons, TIMOR GAP, E.P., Republica Democratia de Timor-Leste Secretaria de Estado dos Recursos Naturais, May 2012
[click to view]

Residents displaced for Suai Airport A group of residents who say the government pressured them to move to make way for Suai Airport, losing valuable farmland

Source: ABC News: Michael Barnett, 22 July 2019 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-22/timor-leste-builds-giant-infrastructure-to-process-gas-onshore/11318924
[click to view]

Suai Airport usually only handles one flight per day Suai Airport (also known as Xanana Gusmao International Airport) has been chronically underused since it opened in 2017. Source: ABC News: Michael Barnett, 22 July 2019
[click to view]

Boat in Suco Camanasa The site earmarked for Suai Supply Base is agricultural land and a place where fisherpeople keep their boats. This photo is from a field visit by La’o Hamutuk in August 2012. Source: La’o Hamutuk https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/TasiMane/13SSBen.htm
[click to view]

Camanasa residents Residents of Camanasa whose land will be used for Suai Supply Base, some people have not yet been compensated, January 2019

Photo: Bernardo Da Costa Maia, Earth Journalism Network (EJN) https://earthjournalism.net/stories/voices-tasi-mane-petroleum-project-brings-concern-optimism-to-timor-leste2019s-southern-coast
[click to view]

Damaged area of first section of Suai-Beacu highway The first section of the 4-lane Suai-Beacu highway linking the Tasi Mane projects, stretching 33 kilometers from Suai to Fatucai, is unusable after a landslide and a section has collapsed

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/big-spending-china-inc-waits-patiently-in-east-timor-on-australia-s-doorstep-20190901-p52msq.html
[click to view]

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Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update01/11/2019
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