Asenior Cambodian government official has called for
urgent talks with Thailand to settle the issue of the two country's maritime
boundaries following the discovery of local offshore oil.
"As the Kingdom
of Cambodia we are preparing all the documents to discuss overlapping areas - we
want to move as soon as possible.
We are getting technical advice from
various sources," Under-Secretary of State for Industry, Mines and Energy Nhep
The Japanese consortium Campex struck oil in Block Three
with their test well Apsara 1, about 155 km southwest of Sihanoukville in the
Gulf of Thailand.
Bunchin said news of the preliminary find had sparked a
rush of proposals from oil explorers "now watching Cambodia like a
Both countries now had "overlapping claims" to the prospective
lease areas, he added.
Bunchin hoped oil production could get under way
by the year 2000 or even earlier and said a priority for the government would be
to build a new oil refinery in Sihanoukville.
Two or three companies have
been short listed to build a small-capacity refinery of 10,000 barrels per day
for an estimated cost of $200 million. Malaysia's Petronas company and the
Petroleum Authority of Thailand were good examples for Cambodia to study, he
Oil industry analysts have however questioned the economic wisdom
of Cambodia building its own refinery, when the region already has an over
capacity of such facilities.- Reuters