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United States shows interest in energy sector

Sun Mesa / Khmer Times Share:
Patrick Murphy. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

Ambassador Patrick Murphy has expressed willingness to push private investors in the United States to work with the Kingdom’s oil and gas sector, so long as Cambodia is keen to coordinate with them.

Mr Murphy after a meeting with Energy and Mines Minister Suy Sem Wednesday tweeted the US is willing to push investors to invest on the Kingdom’s need for energy.

“The US private sector is ready to support the Kingdom’s potential to produce oil and gas, integrate renewable energy and consider the environmental impacts of mining,” he said.

The Kingdom has recently been developing its energy sector to support economic growth.

Prime Minister Hun last month said KrisEnergy is set to extract its first drop of oil next year. It will do so in the Apsara oil field located in the Khmer basin.

Angkor Resources Corporation last month reported on its website an oil exploration project is currently being conducted at the Kompong Som basin.

PTT Public Company Limited, a Thai state-owned oil and gas company, in October expressed interest in exporting crude oil.

Chhe Lidin, director-general of the Mines and Energy Ministry’s general affairs department, on Wednesday after the meeting between Mr Murphy and Mr Sem said the US has also expressed interest.

“The US will push investors to invest in Cambodia,” Mr Lidin said. “Cambodia also needs to coordinate with US investment companies to smoothly invest in Cambodia.”

“[Mr Sem] requested US oil and gas companies to invest in Cambodia’s oil and gas sector,” he added. “The US ambassador told [Mr Sem] the US is prepared to support Cambodia’s energy sector, including by providing technical support.”

Emily Zeeberg, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Phnom Penh, yesterday said a US company General Electric is already supplying equipment to the CEL II Power Plant in Sihanoukville.

She said the US government is helping attract greater private sector participation in Cambodia’s energy sector through the Asia EDGE initiative, a programme which seeks to strengthen energy security, increase energy diversification and trade, and expand energy access across the region.

“The US private sector is ready to support Cambodia’s potential to produce its own oil and gas, integrate renewable energy sources and consider the environmental impacts of mining operations,” she said. “US energy companies are exploring opportunities to help the Kingdom increase its power generation capability.”

“We hope to help other US companies that are currently looking for opportunities in solar energy, wind, energy transmission, and liquefied natural gas,” Ms Zeeberg added.

Figures from the Ministry of Mines and Energy showed Cambodia consumed 2.5 million tonnes of petroleum products last year, a 10 percent increase compared to 2017. Cambodia imported the products from Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Victor Jona, spokesman for the Mines and Energy Ministry, has said the Kingdom could allow US companies to invest in the sector, but those companies would need to be able to provide energy to the Kingdom at a competitive rate.

“Some companies sell electricity to us at very cheap prices. If US companies are only able to sell to us at higher prices, then investment will not happen,” Mr Jona said. “Prices from US companies tend to be expensive and they cannot compete with other companies.”

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