3 Firms Claim They Bought Offshore Oil Rights

Three oil firms are on the verge of purchasing the remaining rights to petroleum exploration in Cambodia’s offshore Block B, Singapore Petroleum Company announced Friday.

According to a statement published on SPC’s Web site, SPC and “co-venturers” PTTEP Internation-al Ltd of Thailand and Resourceful Petroleum Ltd of Malaysia have jointly reached a deal to buy the remaining 10 percent of exploratory rights in Block B.

“Completion of the acquisition is conditional upon the approval of the Cambodian National Petrol-eum Authority,” SPC said.

Following the purchase from CE Cambodia B Ltd—a subsidiary of the Australian firm Cooper Energy—the three firms will together hold all exploration rights in Block B, the statement said.

Among the most promising of Cambodia’s six demarcated offshore exploration blocks, the 6,551-sqare-km Block B is located 250 km off the country’s coast.

In 2005, the three companies announced the acquisition of exploration rights to significant portions of Block B.

However, the National Petro-leum Authority has previously said that French oil giant Total and an unnamed Chinese oil company were vying for the rights to the block.

According to SPC, under the deal, the three companies will make an initial payment of $1 million to CE Cambodia B Ltd plus future “production bonus payments” of up to $2.5 million if oil is struck and production exceeds 100 million barrels.

A senior Cambodian official familiar with oil exploration said on condition of anonymity that he was unaware of any such deal being reached.

The Cambodian official added that data about oil reserves in the block were still too scarce to allow for such “production bonus payments.”


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