In the Australasian Mediterranean, there is an area called Lake Timor. This sea area is located between the island of Timor and the northern coast of Australia. This is a fairly shallow sea where the deepest part reaches a depth of about 3,300 meters. The total sea area is about 610,000 km² and the area includes a number of important islands such as the Melville Islands, part of the Tiwi Islands, and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands which belong to Australia. The area is of great interest to geologists and historians, and it is believed that Lake Timor was once so shallow that people could travel from island to island to reach Australia. The Timor Stream moves in a southwesterly direction between the Indonesian archipelago and Australia. With this current, water is carried from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean.
Lake Timor is bordered by three large straits off the north coast of Australia, these are named in English Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Beagle Gulf and Van Diemen Gulf. In Australia, the city of Darwin is the largest with a coastline to Lake Timor. Australian rivers that flow into this part of the sea are the Fish River, the King River, the Dry River, the Victoria River and the Alligator River. There are more rivers in Australia’s Kimberly region that also flow into this sub-ocean. The deepest point in the ocean is called the Timor Basin and it is considered a continuation of the Sunda Basin (also called the Java Basin). Geologists have slightly different views on the status of this depression, whether it is part of the mountains of the Timor Islands or whether it is even part of the Java depression. Most of Lake Timor is not that deep but is about 200 meters in medium depth.
Tropical storms are common in Lake Timor, and these can be quite problematic for the oil and gas extraction process that is taking place in the area. Due to the fact that the weather can be so harsh, platforms and working methods have been developed that make it possible to cope with storms in a safe way. This often means that you have to quickly stop production, evacuate those who work with the extraction by helicopter, and wait for calmer weather.
Lake Timor agreement
Since this is an area of wealth in the form of gas and oil, it is not so strange that conflicts over the right to it have arisen. The Timor Lake Agreement was concluded between East Timor and Australia in 2002. It was agreed that the two countries share the right to explore Lake Timor to find oil. It is not the case that the agreement says that the countries share in the area itself, but this is exclusively about the oil resources and that they are divided in accordance with the provisions of the agreement. This agreement replaces an earlier agreement from 1989 which could no longer be considered valid as East Timor was no longer seen as an Indonesian province.