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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Block D forecast: Oil’s well

Block D forecast: Oil’s well

OIL could flow from offshore Block D in the Gulf of Thailand as early as 2012, officials from licensee CPHL (Cambodia) Company have said.

While extraction remains dependent on the drilling of three to five wells over the next two or three years, the area has “very good potential”, according to the company’s chairman, William Chan.

“If we can get good results, by the end of 2012 we will try [to start production],” he said at a Cambodian National Petroleum Association event held at Phnom Penhs’s NagaWorld complex.

“We have confirmed there is much oil and gas [through surveys so far].”

CPHL secured the rights to the block – which lies 250 kilometres off the coast of Sihanoukville – in 2006, according to Chan.

In 2007, CPHL’s 48 percent owner Singapore-listed Mirach Energy declared it had completed a three- dimensional seismic survey on 360 square kilometres of Block D.

It was estimated to contain total reserves of 226.88 million barrels of oil.

Mirach said CPHL had a seven-year exploration contract and 30 years of production rights for the offshore block in its 2009 annual report.

The firm, which lists William Chan as its executive chairman and chief executive officer, also maintains oil, gas and coal operations in Indonesia, as well as representative offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.

Chan confirmed that CPHL had started to prepare to drill its first test well earlier this year, and the process generally required 10 to 12 months to complete, with more than 30 contracts to be signed.

He said CPHL had partnered with Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping Group to conduct further mapping to better isolate petroleum. He declined to release how much the firm had invested in the Kingdom to date, but said it had been “a lot”.

Cambodia National Petroleum Agency deputy chairman Ho Vichet declined to comment.

However, high-ranking Cambodian officials have targeted 2012 as a key year for oil production in the Kingdom.

In July, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said: “We hope to have the first drop of oil produced on December 12, 2012, at 12am.”

In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered Chevron to start oil production in offshore Block A by 2012 or face forfeiture of its licence.

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