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Govt seeking talks with Thais on offshore issue

Govt seeking talks with Thais on offshore issue

MINISTER of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon said Thursday that Prime Minister Hun Sen would seek to hold talks on offshore areas under dispute in the Gulf of Thailand when counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva visits Phnom Penh on June 12.

Demarcation of the overlapping area, which covers 27,000 square metres, would help Chevron speed up exploration, he added. The US oil

company this month called for resolution of the issue, with Cambodia blaming Thai political turmoil.

"We hope that during the future visit of the Thai prime minister to Cambodia ... there will be talks on this issue," Keat Chhon told reporters at the National Assembly on Thursday. "I don't know the detailed agenda of the visit yet, but it's a must to talk on this issue because we want to push to have oil exploration soon."

The government has routinely called on Chevron to speed up operations, he added.

"So far, Chevron has not set a time to extract oil," he said, adding that he could not predict when revenue would be made from energy reserves.

Previously, the government has projected a timeframe of between 2011 and 2013.

"The government expects to get estimated revenues of US$200 million per year from oil and gas," he said.

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