Cambodia seeking Iran’s experience in oil, gas exploration

February 23, 2022 - 14:7

TEHRAN - Cambodia has asked Iran to implement oil and gas exploration projects in the country, hoping to resume the country's ambition to produce oil, the country’s New Straits Times reported citing Phnom Penh Post.

As reported, Cambodia has asked Iran to study the country's existing oil blocks and also to conduct exploration operations in new areas that had the potential to produce oil and gas.

The negotiations in this regard were made during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem and Iranian ambassador to Vietnam and Cambodia Ali Akbar Nazari on Monday.

According to the director-general of the mentioned ministry's petroleum department Cheap Sour, Iran has significant experience as an oil and gas producer and the meeting has provided new horizons for further economic cooperation between the two countries.

The official told Phnom Penh Post that the ministry has called on investors from Iran to study the feasibility of investing in Cambodia's existing oil blocks and explore new ones, but that the talks were at a very early stage.

"This is a start, but it is not yet clear which investors from Iranian companies will be able to invest; it is just a diplomatic [discussion]. Now we are waiting to see," he said.

There are also plans to study the feasibility of setting up a refinery in Cambodia, and developing technical assistance and human resource training in the petroleum sector and energy trade cooperation, investment, and the development of electricity infrastructure.

Cambodia had been hoping to become an oil-producing country but oil exploration at its Apsara offshore oilfield was suspended when Singapore-listed investment company KrisEnergy, which had been conducting pumping operations there, went bankrupt.

Since then, Cambodia has been trying to get other investors as well as research teams to the area and get its oil-producing ambition back on track.

Royal Academy of Cambodia's (RAC) International Economics director Hong Vanak said if Iran agreed to invest in and develop the country's oil blocks, the local oil sector would benefit from it and it could also mean a resumption of pumping operations that were suspended due to the bankruptcy of KrisEnergy.

He said Iran's good qualifications and experience in oil and gas are something Cambodia's own industry can benefit greatly from.

EF/MA

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