Cambodia is set to receive more than $14 million in proceeds from the sale of nearly 300,000 barrels of crude oil stolen by the Bahamas-flagged tanker MT Strovolos last year following a payment dispute with the Apsara oil field’s Singaporean developer, KrisEnergy, according to a senior energy official.
KrisEnergy pumped a total of nearly 300,000 barrels from Cambodian waters, leaving more than 100,000 barrels’ worth in the five wells drilled by the company, not including the potential oil deposits found elsewhere, Ministry of Mines and Energy secretary of state Meng Saktheara wrote on social media on October 11.
Saktheara rejected claims made in the wake of KrisEnergy’s bankruptcy declaration last year, and subsequent heist, that Cambodia’s experiment with oil production had been a “failure”, and that all of the extracted crude had been lost.
“Not all of the crude oil that Cambodia produced is lost. National and international legal wrangling and tough trade negotiations have resulted in the full protection of the property and economic interests of Cambodia, as the owner of this commodity,” he said.
Of note, Indonesian authorities confirmed that 297,686.518 barrels of oil were onboard the MT Strovolos when they seized the tanker and detained its crew in July last year.
Saktheara added that a quality and technical assessment found that a total of 280,656 barrels can be sold, which he said has been returned to the government, to handle the sale and payments to all involved parties.
Ministry director-general for petroleum Cheap Sour confirmed to The Post late last month that the nearly 300,000 barrels of crude had been sold, and transferred from the MT Strovolos to an undisclosed buyer on September 10. “Payment will be made 30 days after the purchase, so we expect to receive the money around October 11,” he said.
Saktheara said that last month’s sale was “based” on the average September price of $89.867 per barrel for a final total sales amount of $25,222,554.72.
After a $11.45-per-barrel deduction for quality and market fees totalling $3,213,511.20 and services fees including shipping, insurance and transfer summing up to $1,715,306, the final amount to be distributed among the relevant parties came to $20,293,737.52, he said, adding that Cambodia’s 70 per cent slice would amount to $14,205,616.26.
He did not expressly confirm whether the buyer had made the payment.
In addition, the government also kept KrisEnergy’s $5 million deposit, which was forfeited in bankruptcy proceedings, Saktheara noted.
He pointed out that with Platform A and the existing oil infrastructure at the site, as well as the initial capital, extraction could continue from the oil wells and elsewhere.
“Cambodian oil production does not end with the bankruptcy of KrisEnergy.”
Meanwhile, a team at the energy ministry and Canadian-owned company EnerCam Resources Co Ltd are looking into picking up where KrisEnergy left off and studying the possibility of investing in oil extraction from Block A, using equipment seized by the ministry.
The energy ministry is also in preliminary talks with the Ministry of Economy and Finance on the feasibility of setting up a national oil company, so that the sector is no longer solely dependent on international companies.