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US embassy to host Mekong subregion energy conference

THE US embassy in Phnom Penh will host a Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) energy conference starting today in the capital, with delegates set to discuss energy needs in the region which encompasses Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and southern China.

The event will include the participation of a number of energy companies – including Chevron, General Electric and ConocoPhillips – that will present energy implementation plans for the GMS region, according to a press statement released on Friday by the US Embassy.

“Steady supplies of energy will be a critical element of future GMS trade and growth,” it said.

Among the presentations likely to be relevant to Cambodia’s energy situation are those by Bill Lafferrandre, vice president of ConocoPhillips, who will deliver a talk on the joint development of overlapping claims, and a presentation on best practices in the sector by Gerry M Flaherty, Chevron’s general manager of exploration and new ventures.

Cambodia in 2001 agreed a joint-development agreement with Bangkok over a disputed area in the Gulf of Thailand, but discussions over the exact breakdown of revenues that would come from such an arrangement have never been concluded, a result that has stalled development of the area.

Chevron, as the most likely company to first produce energy for Cambodia at its off-shore Block A, remains a significant presence in the Kingdom’s energy sector as it seeks a deal with the government on an extension to its concession deal in talks that remain stalled.

“The GMS-EC (Economic Cooperation) programme envisions regional production and distribution of energy, creating new opportunities for energy-related technology producers, distributors and traders,” the statement said.

Other speakers include Te Duong Tara, director general of the Cambodia National Petroleum Authority, energy officials from the other GMS countries and Carol Rodley, the US ambassador to Cambodia.

The event, which concludes Wednesday, is to be held at the InterContinental Hotel.

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