A top National Petroleum Authority official Monday disputed claims by an Indonesian firm that Cambodia has agreed to let it explore for oil off the coast of Koh Kong province.
Indonesian oil company PT Medco Energi Internasional announced Wednesday that it had signed a three-year agreement with the authority to explore Block E, which is 5,000 square km in size.
Men Den, director of exploration at the authority, said this is simply not the case.
“I never met anyone from this company,” he said. “Some companies say they will get Block A, Block C to play on the stock exchange,” he said, adding that share prices can rise on word that a company has secured access to oil fields.
Medco Energi said in an e-mail Monday evening that it stands by its statement.
“We, Medco Energi and partner, [have] signed a Petroleum Agreement with CNPA. And such signed document has been received by us,” Medco Energi representative Gemala Katoppo wrote in an e-mail, before referring further questions to a colleague who could not be reached for comment.
Men Den said several companies, which he declined to name, are currently in discussions for exploration rights over Block E.
He also declined to reveal the government’s estimates on the volume or nature of petroleum resources potentially contained in the area.
In its Wednesday press release, Medco Energi announced it had agreed to share 12.5 percent of production revenues with Cambodia.
“The company has paid Social Development Project Funds of US $4.5 million to the Kingdom of Cambodia,” the statement claimed, without elaborating.
Men Den said he was unaware of any such payment.