China-based Hainan Starlight Chemical Co Ltd has voiced a keen interest in investing in an oil refinery plant in Cambodia, according to a Ministry of Mines and Energy senior official.
This comes amid Singaporean oil company KrisEnergy Ltd’s plans to extract the first drop of oil from the Apsara oilfield in Cambodia’s offshore Block A later this year.
Cheap Sour, the director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Petroleum, told The Post on Thursday that Hainan Starlight Chemical had paid a visit to minister Suy Sem on Wednesday to discuss the untapped investment potential of the oil and gas sector.
“The company has shown an interest in setting up a petroleum refinery plant in Cambodia. The ministry welcomes the exploration of investment opportunities and further potential development of the petroleum sector.
“We have asked the firm to ensure that their venture complies with applicable laws and regulations before applying for a feasibility study,” he said.
The company did not disclose a desired location for the project, Sour said, noting that there are four vacant offshore blocks and 18 onshore blocks available for oil exploration.
Meanwhile, an oil refinery is currently under construction on an 80ha plot in Preah Sihanouk province adjacent to Kampot province that is expected to produce five million tonnes of oil per year.
The refinery is a joint-venture between the locally-owned Cambodian Petrochemical Company (CPC) and China’s Sinomach China Perfect Machinery Industry Corp.
The 365sqm facility broke ground in mid-2017 following numerous delays caused by internal issues, and was scheduled to be built in two phases.
In the first of two phases, CPC has said it would spend some $620 million, which would allow for the production of around two million tonnes per year exclusively for the local market.
According to Sour, construction is currently suspended due to more internal issues between the partners. The companies have not provided a timeframe for the resumption of work, he said.