A new wing of Sihanoukville’s oil port will open today after a two-year, $10-million renovation and expansion of the port’s capacity to accommodate Cambodia’s increasing fuel and oil demands.
Sokimex Jetty Co, a joint-venture of Sokimex and Japan’s Marubeni company, added a 1 km jetty in the Gulf of Thailand to handle vessels as large as 46,000 tons.
Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to preside over today’s opening ceremony.
The port’s existing jetty can handle vessels only up to 3,000 tons, said Michiaki Takahashi, Marubeni country representative.
“The new jetty will accommodate an increasing quantity of oil to be imported to Cambodia for the next 20 years,” Takahashi said.
According to the Sihanoukville Port Authority, fuel imports have increased dramatically the last few years.
In 2000, nearly 302 million tons of oil were imported through Sihanoukville, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. Oil imports have quadrupled in the past five years.
Beginning in June 1999, the Sokimex-Marubeni venture spent about $10 million—80 percent from Sokimex and the rest from Marubeni—to expand the jetty and install a new pipeline to oil storage tanks on shore, Takahashi said.
He said the Sokimex-owned oil port in Stung Hav district, 15 km north of the Sihanoukville port, was renovated to meet international standards.
The oil terminal was owned and operated by CKC, Cambodia’s state oil company, until 1996 when Sokimex bought the terminal and built an oil storage area. Total, Shell and other petroleum companies also use the terminal to import fuel.
Takahashi said the renovation will enable companies to cut costs because the new jetty can accommodate much larger vessels that unload oil much faster and cheaper than smaller tankers.
The terminal will be available to any oil company for a fee.
Kit Heffner, Caltex’s country manager, said Sunday his company will continue using the old jetty until fees for the new terminal have been studied. He said Caltex has not been told of the new fee structure.
“The old jetty is still there and it’s perfectly OK,” Heffner said. “We’re still considering whether we will use the new jetty or not. The decision will be made based on fees.”