PRIME Minister Hun Sen met representatives of two Japanese oil companies at his Takhmao home Tuesday morning to discuss oil exploration rights in the Gulf of Cambodia, an official said.
A spokesman for Hun Sen, Eang Sophalleth, said the companies were Tokyo-listed Marubeni Corp and state-owned Impex Corp.
The companies had already submitted applications to the National Cambodian Petroleum Authority (NCPA), Marubeni Executive Officer Teruo Asada, who led the delegation, told the prime minister, according to Eang Sophalleth.
Eang Sophalleth said Hun Sen welcomed the approach. "The stance of the Cambodian government is to make applications to seek oil in Cambodia as transparent as possible through open bidding and to maximise the benefit to Cambodian people," Hun Sen reportedly told Asada.
NCPA Director General Te Duong Dara refused to comment as he "did not attend the meeting".
Marubeni Corp's energy division has oil and gas interests in the United States, the North Sea, Qatar, Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Mexico.
Impex Corp, which is 29 percent owned by the Japanese government, is Japan's largest oil exploration company.
Hun Sen last month said that French oil giant Total had been granted exploration rights in an area in the Gulf of Thailand at the centre of an ownership dispute between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.
However, the agreement is now reportedly under a cloud amid rumours the government is reconsidering its terms.