Seven Petroleum Authority of Thailand gas stations may soon re-open, now that the Cambodian government has rescinded an order banning the company from importing oil through its facilities at Ream Naval Base.
Company officials said Wednesday that the oil import ban was unrelated to recent allegations by customs authorities that the company was smuggling fuel.
PTT has not imported fuel since February, when the government shut the company’s oil depot facilities in Ream Harbor. In a Feb 6 letter, signed by Customs Department Director In Saroeun, PTT was ordered to transfer its operations to the Stung Hao jetty in Sihanoukville, which is used by Sokimex and Caltex and is north of the Ream Naval Base.
The reason given in the letter was “to stop smuggling and illegal import of fuel” along the coastline.
But Bin Many Mialia, the operations manager of Continental Indochine, which imports fuel for PTT, said the jetty in Sihanoukville would be too crowded and tankers would have to wait to unload. The company is also planning an expensive upgrade to its Ream facilities, he said.
With the company unable to import fuel, its seven gas stations in Phnom Penh, Neak Luong and Sihanoukville gradually went dry and have been closed since March, Bin Many Mialia said.
But on June 11, the two prime ministers and the Council of Ministers reversed the decision, he said.
In Saroeun confirmed Wednesday that the two prime ministers had agreed to allow PTT to continue importing fuel from Thailand into Ream. The Finance Ministry, which spearheaded the request to close down the Ream facilities, must still clear the agreement.
Customs officials earlier this month said PTT was smuggling fuel across the border through Pailin, which has a tax-free status.
Bin Many Mialia again denied Wednesday that his company had been smuggling fuel and instead blamed a private company in Thailand called TPI.
(Additional reporting by Kay Kimsong)