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Petrol authority plans refinery

CAMBODIAN National Petroleum Authority officials yesterday signed an agreement to conduct a feasibility study into an oil refinery in Kampot province.

Cambodian Petrochemical Company will conduct the feasibility study in a venture with China National Automation Control System Corporation, which could be followed with construction of a refinery under a Build Own Operate Transfer agreement, according to a press release.

At the signing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said a refinery was a positive sign towards developing the Kingdom’s oil and gas sectors.

“The planned oil refinery would be capable of producing 5 million tonnes of oil per year,” he said, adding construction could begin as soon as 2012 and cost US$600 million.

Cambodia’s current petroleum demand is more than 1 million tonnes a year, largely met with imports from Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand, he said.

“When the plant comes online, it will not only meet the demand of local markets, but [Cambodia] will also be able to export to overseas markets,” he said.

The agreement was signed by CNPA Vice Chairman Ho Vichit and Cambodian Petrochemical Company representative Han Kheang at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh, and was witnessed by Sok An.

Han Kheang said the refinery will sit on about 80 hectares of land in Kampot province.

“We have already found the location for the refinery,” he said.

A completed refinery would boost the domestic economy, and could eventually provide 2,000 jobs, he said.

Several companies are actively exploring Cambodia’s offshore oil blocks, and Chevron is generally thought to be the closest to actually producing oil.

“It will boost tax income and increase the national budget when it starts production,” Han Kheang said.

“We strongly believe that the Cambodian government will motivate us to complete this successfully in order to develop our country faster.”

Cambodia formerly had an active oil refinery with production at 450,000 tonnes a year in Preah Sihanouk province between 1968 and 1971.

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