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PTT keen to export Cambodian crude in future

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Dith Tina (centre left), secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, recently held talks with PTT. Ministry of Mines and Energy

PTT Public Company Limited, a Thai state-owned and SET-listed oil and gas company, last week expressed interest in exporting crude oil from Cambodia.

Cheap Sour, director-general of the general department of petroleum, on Friday said that the firm was keen to export the Kingdom’s crude oil during preliminary talks with the Mines and Energy Ministry.

“We welcome their interest, but they haven’t laid out any concrete plan on the move yet because this is just the first discussion and there will be more talks,” he noted.

When asked whether the Thai firm will work with KrisEnergy to export crude oil from Cambodia, Mr Sour said the matter will be discussed once KrisEnergy begins to extract its first drop of crude oil from the Apsara oil field.

“There is a long way to go, but KrisEnergy and PTT will discuss what type of cooperation can be arranged,” he said. “It could be through a bidding process or something else.”

The Singapore-based KrisEnergy, which explores for oil and gas in Southeast Asia, is now developing Block A in the Khmer Basin’s Apsara oilfield and its first drop of crude oil is expected to be extracted late this year or early 2020.

Last week, Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem and a representative of the PTT Group held a meeting in Phnom Penh and discussed some key areas in the Kingdom’s energy industry and oil development.

Crude oil purchasing was among key issues that were discussed.

KrisEnergy recently reported that the firm has been granted “breathing space and room” to pursue debt restructuring with key stakeholders. The firm said last month that it will receive three months of court protection from legal action to allow it to restructure its $476.8-million debt.

“The Company is currently in moratorium in order to reorganise its capital structure and improve its financial condition, a spokesperson told Khmer Times last month.

The official noted that the board and management of KrisEnergy, together with its advisors, are focused on progressing the restructuring as far as possible before the next court hearing in mid-November.

“KrisEnergy is still committed to Cambodia Block A and the Apsara oil development, which is considered to be a jewel in the company’s portfolio, he emphasised.

Mr Cheap Sour confirmed to Khmer Times last week that he has been told that the company’s efforts to extract its first drop of crude oil from the field will go on as planned.

“The company recently updated its plan to us and if everything goes as planned, the first drop of crude oil will be extracted late this year or in early 2020,” he noted.

However, the crude oil will not be refined in Cambodia and will have to be sold because the Kingdom lacks processing facilities.

Last year, Cambodia imported 2.5 million tonnes of petroleum products, a 10 percent year-on-year increase. The Kingdom imports petroleum products from Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, with 15 local and international companies buying oil from abroad, according to the Mines and Energy Ministry.

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