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Petrolimex targets Cambodia

PETROL wholesaler Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation launched its first representative office in Phnom Penh last night, as part of its international expansion policy.

The state-owned firm, also known as Petrolimex, supplies at least half of the Kingdom’s petrol, according to high-ranking officials – including Vietnam’s deputy prime minister – attending the event.

Petrolimex’s newest office would be tasked with promoting the corporation’s image and conducting market research, as well as seeking out business opportunities in the oil and gas sector, the firm’s Director General Bui Ngoc Bao said.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, held at Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld, he said: “The new office marks an important step in our expansion strategy by developing operations in foreign markets, especially the Cambodian market.”

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem estimated the firm met half of Cambodia’s annual demand for petroleum, worth some US$700 million each year, at yesterday’s launch.

Cambodia’s minister of commerce, Cham Prasidh, welcomed the firm’s increased presence and called for further expansion.

“I encourage the company to open [a full] branch of Petrolimex in Cambodia soon,” he said.

“The new representative office cannot sign any business contracts. It can just run promotional advertisements.”

The minister estimated the company supplied about 80 percent of Cambodia’s total petrol demand of 1 million tonnes per year. Cham Prasidh said the wholesaler sold petrol to a number of firms with bases in the Kingdom, including Sokimex, Tela, Price Victory and Chevron.

In turn, the domestic firms sold products to the public at the pumps.

The minister said that Petrolimex’s petroleum products were highly regarded by the Kingdom’s domestic vendors.

Representatives of several such companies at yesterday’s launch said they welcomed Petrolimex’s presence.

Heu Heng, deputy director general of Sokimex Group, said the firm had purchased Petrolimex goods since 1993, but that its increased representation in the Kingdom would simplify communications between business partners and increase market understanding.

Heu Heng said Sokimex controlled about 30 percent of local market share, but that “the petroleum market in Cambodia is very competitive. There are more than 10 vendors operating here.”

State-owned Petrolimex was founded in 1956.

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