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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New contract for gas exploration

New contract for gas exploration

THE Government has signed an agreement with an Australian oil exploration company

to make further assessments of oil and gas reserves in five offshore areas.

At the same time the company will review all earlier exploration data supplied to

the Government.

Chairman of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, Sok An, and general manager

of Woodside South East Asia Pty Ltd finalized the agreement on March 25.

Under the agreement, the CNPA authorizes the Woodside to make data review and wells

appraisals and then supply the authority with the data within 15 months.

The exploration is to be carried out in areas I, II, III, IV and VII which are located

near Sihanoukville.

"We hope that the study conducted by the Woodside will result in successful

exploration of gas and oil in Cambodia," Sok An said.

He added that a successful find would be benefit both parties involved.

Meanwhile Dr Kastler said that data from a similar agreement a year ago is in the

final stages of preparation and the results should be known within a matter of weeks.

He said that it would then take another six months to interpret the data.

He also said Woodside and CNPA staff would also reprocess and reinterpret all the

existing seismic and the well data for offshore Cambodia.

This consists of approximately 12,000 square Km of two dimensional seismic surveys,

500 square Km of three dimensional seismic surveys and eight wells.

"All of this work must be completed within 15 months whereupon Woodside may

elect to convert part of the study area into a production sharing contract, the CNPA

then has the ability to market the remainder of the acreage using the results of

the study to promote it," Dr Kastler said.

Te Duong Dara, Director General of the CNPA said that following the signing ceremony

they would start to reprocess the data in Singapore.

"We will correct the wrong interpretation and re-examine the data [produced

earlier that meant] some companies thought that there was oil, but when they drilled

there was none," he said.

He added that with the new more accurate data that they would be able to put up for

auction any promising blocks at the end of the 15 months.

This is not the first attempt to harness Cambodia's offshore energy resources.

In 1992 Enterprise Oil measured seismic, marine gravity and magnetic fields in blocks

I and II. They interpreted the data in 1994 and drilled four wells - Angkor I, Bayon

I, Preah Khan I and Da I.

A license to explore area III was issued to CAMPEX in December 1991.

It carried out survey work in 1992/93 then sank three wells - Apsara I, Devada I,

and Poulovai I in block III were drilled by CAMPEX in 1993, 1994, and 1996.

Premier Oil Pacific Ltd sank the Koh Tang well in 1994 and Idemitsu company sank

Koh Pring in 1998.

Dara said of the ten wells drilled a few were looking promising.

"Three of those wells have oil, this result, compared to the world figure is

good.

However he warned that the success of Cambodia's petrochemical industry was dependent

on the price of oil rising.

"Whenever the price is going up again there will be companies wanting to come

here," he said.

With the price of oil currently hovering around $12 a barrel, it is uneconomical

for companies to put in the money to tap into offshore oil reserves.

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