Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Oil concerns chase four more blocks

Oil concerns chase four more blocks

Oil concerns chase four more blocks

T HE Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) has put out one onshore and three offshore blocks to international tender for oil and gas exploration.

Some 80 companies worldwide have been canvassed for bids on Blocks 5,6,7 south and west of Sihanoukville port and onshore Block 10, said MIME Under Secretary of State Nhep Bunchin

Bunchin said: "For the Ministry this is the right time to give the blocks away to tender. There has been a lot of interest. Some companies are interested in bidding for all four blocks, some three, others for just one."

The growing interest in Cambodia as a potential oil producer among exploration companies follows three oil and gas strikes out of four test wells drilled so far by three consortia already operating off the southwest coast.

"In the most successful fields, for every six or eight wells there are discoveries in perhaps one or two. But in the Cambodian situation it is very different, there have been three discoveries out of four. This is very exceptional," said Bunchin, adding: "The oil companies are looking at Cambodia and thinking this is a very good opportunity."

The latest strike, in Block 4 by the Premier Oil Camboya consortium, in particular has sparked interest in the adjoining Block 5, said Bunchin. He added that the new Investment Law, passed by the National Assembly in August, was also playing a part.

Bunchin was unable to give a closing date for bids to be made but said he thought bid winners would be announced within three months.

The rapid tendering process was because the Co-Premiers had ordered the Ministry to "move very fast in terms of investment," said Bunchin. "We are looking for capable and experienced companies," he added.

He also emphasized that it was too soon to say whether or when oil discoveries would lead to commercial production.

Block 5 has never been assigned to an oil company for exploration in the past while Block 6 was given to Technitrade BV and Blocks 7 and 10 to Marimex in production sharing agreements signed in 1992,

These agreements have now been revoked after the Dutch companies failed to make any move to explore their blocks and did not respond to fourth and final letters asking them why no work had been carried out.

Under oil sharing agreements a company or consortia undertakes to carry the cost of exploring an agreed area. The deal divides up any commercial discoveries between the government and the company. In the event of a discovery the government may pay back some of the company's exploration costs from its oil revenues.

Currently Premier and its partners are considering whether to carry out 2-d or the more expensive 3-d seismic surveys prior to drilling a second well.

Japanese consortium Campex is also in a planning phase and is to drill a third well. The third consortium currently operating off Cambodian shores, led by British-owned Enterprise Oil is now mid-way through a 3-d seismic survey.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not