Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japanese oil study ‘positive’

Japanese oil study ‘positive’

Japanese oil study ‘positive’

7 Preah Vihear temple

The hunt for oil around northwestern Cambodia has unearthed “positive” results for Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), which intends to continue exploring the area in a project that could last at least six more years, a government spokesman said.

JOGMEC’s survey on the area known as Block 17, which spans across Siem Reap and Preah Vihear provinces, has netted “positive and encouraging” results, said the Council of Minister’s spokesman, Ek Tha. It has also led “to numerous new geological information and understanding of Cambodia onshore petroleum potential.”

Such findings are “a result of a three-year joint study between JOGMEC and the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA), which includes Cambodia’s first ever onshore 2D seismic acquisition by way of using explosives,” he said.

Seismic acquisition allows one to study an area’s subsurface geological structures and features. The process analyses waves that are generated from explosives and carom off underground structures such as rocks.

“JOGMEC intends to nominate a Japanese oil and gas company to negotiate a petroleum agreement with CNPA to continue exploration in this Block, which is expected to take another six to eight years to complete,” Tha said. JOGMEC presented its final report two days ago to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who is also CNPA’s chairman.

In May 2010, JOGMEC signed a principal agreement with CNPA to study and assess oil potential in northwestern Cambodia. In late January last year, it started the 2D seismic acquisition operation, and drilled 6,000 holes, each with a six-millimeter diameter and a depth of up to 20 metres.

Men Den, CNPA’s deputy director-general in charge of exploration, development and production, said that JOGMEC’s successful initial results do not mean that extraction would definitely occur.

“They just did the seismic process which was not drilled in a long depth. But, they just concluded that it may [have oil]. So, they will do regional study once again to know more about the potential,” he said

“The government welcomes any investments because it benefits our people to have more jobs. If they want to go forwards, they need to sign production sharing contracts that last for about 30 years.”

Men Den added that the exploration has no impact on the renowned temples in the area, as the exploration site is situated far away.

Mam Sambath, executive director of Development and Partnership in Action, said that if petroleum is eventually found and extracted, the company should consider the possible environmental impacts.

Pipelines would have to be installed to transport the petroleum to refineries, he said.

“If the pipeline leaks, it will pollute the environment and affect humans, animals and rice fields nearby,” he said. This is especially true because the area being surveyed is home to many protected areas and sanctuaries, he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the