The coronavirus pandemic is expected to slow the development of the Apsara oilfield located at Cambodia’s offshore Block A of the Khmer Basin in the Gulf of Thailand, which is being developed by Singapore-based KrisEnergy Ltd.
Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Petroleum director-general Cheap Sour told The Post on Monday that the global epidemic was slowing progress, but the company is currently still developing the project.
“The company is still working hard to get the job done, but it’s difficult for the company due to the Covid-19 predicament. Even sending technicians to the minimum facilities platform construction has proven difficult and operations at the site have stalled,” said Sour.
He said the ministry could not assess whether the company would be able to produce the oil according to plan.
“In particular, we have not been able to assess the potential for Cambodia’s first oil extraction because we have not yet met with the company directly to discuss specific details.
“As the issue of Covid-19 persists, especially in Singapore where the number of infections has increased, the country lockdown continues, and the company has not been able to make any assessments.
“Our impression is that the disease has now affected the implementation of the project, but what the company can do, it continues to do,” he said.
The decimation of oil prices in the first four months of this year to the lowest levels in two decades, coupled with the devastating impact on demand for oil and gas and an unprecedented supply glut have presented monumental challenges to oil and gas operators across the globe, the company said in a recent press release.
However, the first development phase – Mini Phase 1A – comprises a mini-platform and five initial development wells connected to the Ingenium II production barge for oil, gas and water processing. Apsara crude oil will be stored in a tanker moored adjacent to the production barge for periodic offloading, it said.
It added that Apsara oil remains on scheduled to begin pumping this year and the field is expected to reach a peak rate of 7,500 barrels of oil per day. Cambodia Block A is expected to be the highest revenue-generating asset in the group’s portfolio in the long term.
“Taking into consideration all the factors, including the imminent financial restructuring of the group, the successful development of Mini Phase 1A will provide important performance information in addition to cash flow and could lead to future phases of development,” the company said.
Chinese-owned Cambodian Resources Energy Development Co Ltd was granted a three-year exploration licence in the 5,500sq km Block D in the Gulf of Thailand and it plans to begin later this year.
Sour said Cambodia has allocated six offshore oil exploration areas and 19 blocks onshore.