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Cambodia hits oil revenue

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A view of a Caltex gas station in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Officials yesterday confirmed that the Cambodian government will receive a majority of the revenue share from Chevron’s offshore Block A oil permit area near Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand. The government expects to issue the American oil giant a production permit licence by the end of this year.

Ek ThA, A spokesman from the Office of the Council of Ministers said the Cambodian government and Chevron were presently working on the deal, which had not yet been concluded.

“We will take between 70 and 80 per cent of the total revenue,” Ek Tha said.

“Now, both parties are in the negotiations, and we are on the brink of a production permit. We are working for the interest of the Cambodian people and the nation as a whole.

“At the same time, we also understand about investment operations in Cambodia. Both Cambodia and Chevron are working for mutual benefit,” he said.

Sok Khavan, acting director-general of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA), declined to comment yesterday.

He told Dow Jones Newswires on Wednesday, however, that the government would likely receive the majority of revenue from the project, depending on factors such as the price of oil, and production and development costs.

“From our analysis, the government’s share should not go much below 70 per cent, and will be close to 80 per cent in cases of high oil prices,” he was quoted as saying.

“At the moment we are

trying not to bite off more than we can chew,” he said.

Steve Glick, president of Chevron’s Cambodia operations declined to comment.

However, earlier in July Glick said Chevron completed three environmental impact assessments (EIAs), including exploration reports.

“We’ve been in Cambodia for 10 years, and Chevron has put forth two other EIAs during that time,” he said. Glick said Chevron had also completed two environment management programs concerning its operation.

Mam Sambath, director of an NGO called Development Partnership in Action (DPA), which focuses on oil and gas transparency, said that revenue sharing was still the big question facing Cambodian civil society.

“I cannot say whether it is appropriate or not unless both sides release the information to the public.”

In early July, Chevron officials said oil production in Cambodia would not begin until 2016, or at least three years after the originally appointed date of 12/12/12.

Mam Sambath said the delay would give the government a chance to set up some rules and regulations as well as training their officers to become qualified in the extractive industry.

Spokesman Ek Tha said according to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, the first drop of oil will appear in the next one or two years.

The Block A oil field is located 157 kilometres off Cambodia’s coast. Chevron drilled 18 exploratory wells before announcing a commercial discovery in 2010. It will build as many as 10 platforms in the 4,709-square-kilometre field over a period of nine years.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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