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Pursat oil hunt raises queries

Pursat oil hunt raises queries

AN unnamed private company has begun preliminary studies for oil exploration along Cambodia's National Road 5 near the Tonle Sap Lake in Pursat province, according to local officials.

Plastic wire has been set up around the area, and trucks with power generators are now stationed along the road.

"A private company is looking for oil around Tonle Sap lake," Mao San, director of Pursat province's Department of Industry, Mines and Energy, told the Post  Thursday, but he refused to name the company.

"The company has previously evaluated land in local villages, in the mountains and all around the lake," he said. "But they're focusing now on the area along National Road 5."

Men Den, director of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Division of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, hesitated to call the company's work "exploration".

"Right now, they are just assessing the soil. Then they will begin exploration," he said. "I will not yet call it exploration. That will come later."

Chea Sieng Hong, secretary of state for the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the company has conducted exploration in several provinces around the lake.

"They are looking all around Tonle Sap lake," he said. "The exploration extends all across the country."

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