December 29, 2011

Cambodia, Thailand agree in principle to resume oil deal talks


PHNOM PENH, Dec. 29 -- Cambodia and Thailand on Thursday agreed in principle to resume negotiations on the plan for the joint development of Overlapping Claim Area (OCA) in the Gulf of Thailand, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas.

The verbal agreement was made during a meeting between the minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, the Chairman of Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and visiting Thai minister of energy Pichai Naripthaphan.

"In principle, we had shown our intention to resume the negotiations on the overlapping claim area," Pichai told reporters after the meeting. "We want it (the joint development of OCA) to happen for the interests of both countries in terms of energy security for another 40 to 50 years."

The OCA covers about 26,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Thailand.

He added that if the countries reach an agreement on this matter, oil and gas in the OCA will come out in 8 to 10 years.

Cambodia and Thailand inked the Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) regarding the plan of joint development area (JDA) at the OCA in 2001, but it had been cancelled by the previous Thai government under Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.

"I come to talk about re-installation of the MoU and according to Thai law, we have to get approval from our Parliament for the restoration first before proceeding to the next step talks," he said.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for Cambodia's Council of Ministers, told reporters after the meeting that both sides are committed to jointly developing the OCA for the energy needs of the two countries.

Both sides had not talked about revenue sharing yet, he added.

During the meeting, Thai side also pledged to accept Cambodian officials for training in oil and gas sector.

Pichai arrived here on Thursday morning for a two-day official visit.

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