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Offshore oil rig spuds first well in decades

Offshore oil rig spuds first well in decades

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

first well.

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

year.

"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

3.3-km hole.

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.

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