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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Exploration claims mystify authorities

Exploration claims mystify authorities

Officials have never heard of a Texas-based company that claims to have been awarded

oil and gas research and exploration rights in Cambodia, said Te Duong Tara, director

general of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA) on Thursday.

The X-Change Corporation issued a press release to an online business news site April

6 (EST) stating that the Cambodian government has granted the US company rights to

offshore Cambodian Block B and onshore Cambodian Block A exploration sites.

"They are trying to make a cake with no flour," Tara said, discounting

the corporation's release. "We have made no such agreement."

Onshore Block A covers approximately 1,500 square kilometers in the northwest corner

of the Tonle Sap Basin, according to the statement.

Offshore Block B encompasses around 6,500 square kilometers, and according to the

release is located next to offshore Block A, an area which Chevron Overseas Petroleum

(Cambodia) Ltd. (COPCL) recently acquired rights to explore.

Representatives from Chevron have no knowledge of an agreement between the CNPA and

X-Change, or of the US company itself, said Pich Chetra, who oversees marketing and

public relations for COPCL.

X-Change Corporation also issued a release on April 5 claiming that the firm is opening

an office in Phnom Penh and will operate locally under the name Curado Energy Cambodia

Ltd.

A notice posted March 2 on the company's website said staff members had received

an invitation from the Cambodian government to consult with CNPA in Cambodia.

"No member from CNPA has ever met with this company, or with any other American

oil companies recently," Tara said. "Sometimes companies make up a story

to make money."

X-Change claims to own nearly 40 oil wells in Texas.

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