Minister of Cabinet Sok An left for Thailand Thursday, where he will meet with the Thai Petroleum Authority to discuss “technical problems” with an ongoing dispute over potential petroleum fields in the Gulf of Thailand, an official said Thursday at Pochentong Airport.
Speaking as part of the delegation sending the head of the Council of Ministers off, the official said Sok An will meet with officials from the Thai Petroleum Authority Thursday and Friday and will return to Cambodia Sunday. Although the official said Sok An will talk over the “technical problems” between the two countries, the official did not provide detailed information about how they will resolve the matter.
In June 2001, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met in Phnom Penh and signed an agreement on potential oil exploration in the 27,000-square-km disputed area in the Gulf of Thailand that both countries have laid claim to. The “Overlapping Maritime Claims” Memorandum of Understanding stated that neither country can begin drilling in the area until a mutual agreement can be reached.
The agreement also said that Thailand and Cambodia will split the revenue 50-50 if drilling begins before the dispute is resolved.
In March, the Cambodian government signed an agreement for oil exploration and possible drilling of oil and natural gas in its own waters with ChevronTexaco.
Chevron Overseas Petroleum Limited received 70 percent of the 6,278-square-km Block A in the Gulf of Thailand. According to a ChevronTexaco news release, the Japanese firm Mitsui Oil Exploration received the remaining 30 percent. ChevronTexaco also has assets in several other blocks in the disputed territory. Last month, British Oil giant BP PCL offered to sell its stock in two oil and gas concessions in the Gulf of Thailand.
(Additional reporting by Kim Chan)