Cambodia to start extracting first drop of oil next year

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) – Cambodia will start pumping its first drop of crude oil from one of its offshore oilfields next year, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said yesterday.

“Our first drop of oil will be extracted in 2020, and I will announce the exact date later,” he said during a graduation ceremony of nearly 2,000 university students.

Hun Sen said Singapore-based oil and gas firm KrisEnergy has been actively working on its action plan, including the construction of an oil rig and an oil platform.

The prime minister said upcoming revenue from oil will be used to invest in physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, irrigation system, and electricity, and in health and education.Oil will be extracted from the Apsara oilfield, which is located in Block A covering 3,083 square km over the Khmer Basin in the Gulf of Thailand.

KrisEnergy holds a 95-per cent stake in the block, and the Cambodian government owns the remaining five per cent. Mines and Energy Ministry Secretary of State Meng Saktheara said when the crude oil is extracted, KrisEnergy will sell it to the international market because an oil refinery in the country is still under developmental stage.

Block A is one of several oilfields found off Cambodian territorial waters in Preah Sihanouk province, situated in the southwest of Phnom Penh.