Cambodia imported 1.31 billion tonnes of oil in the first 10 months of this year, a 2.2 per cent slide compared to 1.34 billion tonnes in the same period last year, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Industry experts said the drop did not mean local production has slowed down but rather attributed it to the increased use of hydropower from emerging dams in the country.
Bin May Mialia, deputy managing director of PTT (Cambodia), said the firm saw a 10 per cent year-on-year drop of fuel oil imports in the first 10 months of this year. He said the decrease had little to do with local production as the supply of fuel oil to factories is limited, only accounting for around 200 to 300 tonnes per month.
“The drop in fuel oil for factories was because more and more factories are now starting to use … as a power source the electricity that comes from Vietnam and the hydropower dam in Kirirom and Kamchay,” he said.
Jet fuel imports, however, increased by 22 per cent in the same period, Mialia said, attributing the rise to the growing number of tourists coming to Cambodia.
According to Meng Saktheara, director-general of the Industry and Secretariat of the Small and Medium Enterprise subcommittee, local production lines are in very good shape. He too linked the drop in oil imports to the rising use of electricity from dams and other sources imported from Vietnam and Thailand.
Saktheara said he foresees a further drop if Cambodia continues to ease its dependence on oil for energy in favour of electricity from the dams.
Cambodia currently purchases petroleum from Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, as its own offshore oil and gas reserves have not yet been tapped. According to Saktheara, the sector consuming most of the oil is transportation.
In the first 10 months of this year, Cambodia spent $1.2 billion on oil imports, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.
Late last year, locally owed Cambodian Petrochemical Company, a joint-venture with Sinomach China Perfect Machinery Industry Corp, invested $2.3 billion in the construction of a refinery on an 80-hectare oil field situated between Preah Sihanouk and Kampot provinces.