THE Cambodian National Petroleum Authority is prepared for the possibility of a restart in negotiations on the Overlapping Claims Area in the Gulf of Thailand, according to a statement yesterday.
“CNPA has strengthened our legal team and is prepared and ready to engage in discussion with the Thai side whenever there is agreement between the two governments to do so,” the statement said. The CNPA would act pursuant to instructions from the government of Cambodia, it added.
In 2001, Cambodia and Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding laying out joint management of the petroleum resources in the 27,000 square kilometre area in the Gulf of Thailand. However, the agreement was put on hold by the Thais in 2009 following the appointment of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser of Cambodia.
Experts have said the dispute is closer to being resolved with the election of the Puea Thai government, while petroleum firms say they are ready to explore the region. On Wednesday, Total Exploration and Production Asia-Pacific vice president Yves Le Bais said Total was ready to begin exploration in the area as soon as the two countries resolved the dispute.