In what the new government and a Japanese firm hope will result in a lucrative
discovery of oil or gas, offshore drilling was set to begin in Cambodian waters on
Dec. 1 when the Cambodia Petroleum Exploration Co. (CAMPEX) said it would spud its
CAMPEX Managing Director Seiji Ikeda confirmed to the Post on Nov. 29 that the drilling
ship "Ocean Clipper" was due to arrive at the drill site that night at
10 PM and within 24 to 36 hours the vessel with its crew of 120 would begin drilling.
The Ocean Clipper, a ship leased from Singapore-based Diamond Offshore Drilling,
Inc., was most recently in the Java Sea. Once the ship arrived over the "Apsara
I" drill site in Cambodian waters 155 kms southwest of Sihanoukville, it would
set out eight 1,500-meter anchor lines for stabilizing purposes. Pipe would be set
down in the 71 meters of water to begin drilling.
CAMPEX's first test well is expected to reach 3300 meters below the ocean floor where
a potential deposit has been determined from seismic surveys completed earlier this
"In 80 days from Dec. 1 we will know if there is any oil or gas," said
CAMPEX managing director, referring to the length of time it will take to bore the
Ikeda added that CAMPEX "would like to find oil" as it is easier to pump,
transport and market from offshore operations than gas. He would not make any guesses
on the chances of finding either, although many observers are fairly confident that
the area contains some substantial petroleum deposits given the productivity of similar
areas close buy in Thai territorial waters.
A study conducted by the East West Institute in Hawaii calculated that potential
oil and gas revenues from Cambodia's onshore and offshore petroleum reserves might
be worth U.S.$175 million a year.
CAMPEX will drill a second well named "Devada I" once the first well is
completed. Based on the result of this first "drilling campaign", the company
will consider sinking a third in 1995.