More than 250 million barrels of oil and nearly a half-trillion cubic feet of natural gas may be lying beneath Cambodian territorial waters in one of the country’s six offshore exploration blocks, a Chinese firm announced Monday.
Recently completed three-dimensional seismic surveys of the 360-square-km Block D, which is 278 km from the port of Sihanoukville, show recoverable reserves of 226.88 million barrels of oil and 496.2 billion cubic feet of gas, China Petrotech Holdings Ltd said in a statement.
However Cambodian officials on Tuesday poured cold water over the announced findings, saying they were likely inaccurate and an attempt to inflate the company’s share price on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
China Petrotech did not respond to requests for comment, but the company said in its statement that the findings were subject to two independent reviews and would be the basis for an exploration plan be to drawn up in the coming months.
Lim Vatha, deputy director of the upstream division at the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, said no information such as China Petrotech had announced yet existed.
“If they like to do estimates, they can estimate but it is not true,” he said, adding that estimates from seismic surveys are often inaccurate. “I don’t know what method they used to estimate the amount of oil and gas without any drilling.”
Another senior Cambodian official with knowledge of oil exploration said on condition of anonymity that the company had been exploring but was likely tooting its own horn for shareholders.
“I think this is regarding the stock exchange,” he said of Monday’s announcement.
In early afternoon trading Monday, China Petrotech’s share price rose 7.9 percent to $0.36 with 5.23 million shares traded; it fell 3.6 percent to $0.35 Tuesday.
Crude oil prices rose Monday to $64.20 a barrel in after-hour electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while futures for natural gas on the same exchange stood at $7.46 per million BTUs, or 970 cubic feet, Tuesday morning in New York, according to Bloomberg.com.