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Draft oil bill unanimously approved

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The National Assembly unanimously approves a draft bill on the management and production of oil on Monday, retaining its full original content. Hong Menea

Draft oil bill unanimously approved

At the government’s request, the National Assembly has unanimously decided to retain the full original content of a draft bill on the management and production of oil, as the development of the Kingdom’s coastal and marine oil and gas resources continues to progress.

This was after the bill had been debated and compromises made with the government to facilitate its passage into law.

National Assembly president Heng Samrin told a plenary session on Monday that the draft bill was incorporated in line with decisions made by the assembly’s permanent commission at meetings held from June 5-13 during the second session of the sixth legislature, where six items were on the agenda.

Nin Saphon, chairperson of the National Assembly’s commission on public works, transport, telecommunications, post, industry, energy, commerce and land management, presented a review of the draft bill at the assembly’s hall, saying it had been submitted by the government to the assembly for speedy review and approval on April 5.

The permanent commission reviewed the draft bill on April 26 and decided to hand it to the ninth assembly commission for further study and research, Saphon said, and the commission had completed that task in line with procedures set out in the constitution.

She said the commission found the draft bill to be important and necessary and agreed to Samrin’s request to hold a workshop to learn about it.

“On June 6, the ninth commission called a further meeting to summarise the various recommendations brought up by the workshop’s participants for another internal review of the draft bill. The commission also agreed to retain the full original content,” Saphon said.

She said that on June 10, the commission collaborated with all National Assembly specialist commissions to meet with government representatives led by Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem in order to review and discuss the final draft bill.

“As per representations by the senior leadership of the Ministry of Mines and Energy on June 16, the June 6 workshop and the June 10 inter-committee meeting with government representatives, both supported the draft bill without requesting any revision of the original government content,” she said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
National Assembly president Heng Samrin on Monday. Hong Menea

Saphon said the draft bill contains nine chapters, 72 articles and an annexe explaining the key technical content.

First oil production soon

A statement released after Monday’s session said teams of Chinese and Polish geologists began Cambodia’s first research into exploring mining and petroleum resources in the 1960s, compiling basic documents and a geological map.

It said that in order to court investors in the Kingdom’s resources and to prepare those resources according to international standards, Cambodia approved fundamental regulations to pave the way for investors to join the first international bidding process in 1991.

It was later deemed that the existing 1991 regulations were not appropriate for the development of the oil sector in the context of the Kingdom’s social, economic and environmental development.

Therefore, the government re-formulated a draft bill to manage and develop the nation’s oil resources in an effective, transparent and accountable manner in order to attract and reassure investors and promote sustainable and effective development.

Block A on the coast will soon produce oil for the first time in Cambodia’s history, the statement said.

It said the draft bill was first drawn up by the Ministry of Mines and Energy in 1996, with the assistance of legal experts from the Asian Development Bank. It was further reviewed by legal experts from a Japanese firm.

The statement said that in 2006, the former Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA) revised the bill in consultation with national and international technical and legal experts.

After the CNPA was integrated under the Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2013, the bill was further revised to incorporate the experiences of other countries such as Australia, Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Thailand and Vietnam.

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