Cambodia stops oil production but retains promising undersea rights

Territorial talks with neighboring Thailand could hold the key to future exports.

Cambodia saw its dream of becoming the eighth oil producer among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations fizzle out in less than six months.

Singapore-based KrisEnergy, which operates the Apsara oil field in the Gulf of Thailand off Sihanoukville, in southern Cambodia, announced on June 4 that it had filed for liquidation. The company said at the time that output had remained less than half its initial estimate of 7,500 barrels a day since it started production on Dec. 29, 2020, leaving it unable to repay its debts.

KrisEnergy’s application for liquidation likely was a great disappointment to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. When the Apsara oil field went into production at the end of last year, he enthused on Facebook: “New Year 2021 ahead, we got a big gift for our nation — that’s the first oil made in our land.”

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