OTC 2016: Cambodia Decision on First Oilfield Development by Year End

OTC 2016: Cambodia Decision on First Oilfield Development by Year End
Cambodia expects a decision to develop the country's first oilfield at Block A by year end, a senior government official says.

Cambodia is expected to make a decision on the development of the country's first oilfield project at offshore Block A in the Gulf of Thailand, which is being developed by Singapore-based KrisEnergy Ltd., by year end, Dr. Men Den, deputy general director of the General Department of Petroleum (GDP) in the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) told Rigzone Monday on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2016.

The government is holding off on a decision on Block A as it is currently in the midst of setting up a national authority to oversee the domestic energy sector, including oil and gas, Dr. Men Den said. He said the process is likely to take around four months, with another month required to set up the regulatory body.

The new organization will perform the role similar to that of Malaysia's national oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), one of Southeast Asia's more successful stated-owned petroleum companies.

"We expect a decision on Block A by the end of this year," Dr. Men Den said, adding that the delay in approving the project is not expected to have a huge impact given the low oil prices currently.

KrisEnergy took over operatorship of Block A, after acquiring Chevron Corp.'s 27.5 percent stake for $65 million in August 2014. The company has already submitted the development plans to the government and have reached an agreement on its fiscal and technical terms. KrisEnergy indicated March 9 that first oil is expected 24 months after the final investment decision.

Just last week, the MME terminated a petroleum agreement with CPHL (Cambodia) Co. Ltd. to explore and develop offshore Block D, which the associated firm of Singapore-based Mirach Energy Ltd. had held since 2006.

While attention is currently focused offshore, Dr. Men Den said Cambodia's onshore petroleum acreages appears to hold larger potential than its offshore blocks. Citing seismic data, he said onshore assets hold 3 times more than potential petroleum resources than offshore blocks.

Chee Yew has covered the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry in Asia for more than 15 years. Email Chee Yew at cheeyew.cheang@rigzone.com

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