01 December 2006

"Meas Kmao--Black Gold" Oil Found in Cambodia

Recently I read a Khmer language newspaper with the headline (my translation) "The Benefits of Oil and Gas Could Become Economic War For Corrupt Officials in Cambodia". The headline really caught my attention so I went on reading the entire article.

American company Chevron was granted by our Cambodia government to do oil and gas exploration on our continental shelf--off the sea coast along Kampong Som and Kampot areas in the Gulf of Thailand. In 2004 and 2005 Chevron hit the black gold in 4 out of 5 drillings, and they plan to drill 10 more places within the next 2 years.They estimated from 121 to 700 million of barrels could be found in our Cambodia ocean.

The Cambodia people are very skeptical about the income from oil and gas will go into the country's development from current state of extreme poverty. They are worry the income generated would fall into the hands of corrupt and the powerful officials. Prime Minister Hun Sen kept touting the government won't allow the benefits from our oil and gas to become a 'curse' for the Cambodia people. He said this because he awares of corrupt officials are in fierce competitions with each other to reap whatever they can.

Cambodia leaders should put their heads together. The world is watching us very closely. World Bank has announced Cambodia natural oil and gas is the economic source for Cambodia. One United Nation observer said oil and gas could generate income our country from $6 billion to $7.5 billion(US) per year. Let's hope these oil and gas revenue will help rebuilding our country and gradually paying off all of our debts.


Anonymous said...

Government officials who feed off these oil will not need outsiders to criticize and regulate them, which is the usual routine when Cambodia asked for grants and loans. As a result, government may care less about the poor and human rights. No one is there to leverage their behavior. Oil money, while seemingly pleasing to the eyes, can be hazardous.

Angkor wat said...

video documentary clips.

Click on my name to watch the documentary.

Khmer wat Phnom said...

A video Kampuchea during the 1965.
To watch the video just click on my nick name there. Thanks,

khmerwatcher said...

Analysis: Cambodia oil, blessing or curse?
UPI Energy Correspondent
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The buzz about Cambodia's petroleum potential has many energy firms chomping at the bit to begin drilling, though some predict that the blessing of black gold will be a curse in disguise for a nation that's experienced its share of hardship.

Leading the charge toward full-scale extraction operations is U.S. oil company Chevron, which in the last year sunk many exploratory wells and is reportedly eager to begin offshore drilling in the Gulf of Thailand.

According to the World Bank, Cambodian reserves could contain as many as 2 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of gas, which would make Cambodia the next untapped "hot spot" for multinational oil players.

"Depending upon the world price of oil, Cambodian reserves may be contributing annual revenues of $2 billion per annum -- several times the current level of domestic revenue and ODA [overseas development aid] combined -- within perhaps five to 10 years," read a recent World Bank report.

With that in mind, Chevron and other oil giants are beginning to turn their attention toward Cambodia.

"Energy firms will be eager to capitalize on what could be the world's next great petroleum resource," Dorothea EL Mallakh, director of the International Research Center for Energy and Economic Development, told United Press International.

El Mallakh's prediction of increased interest comes with a caveat, however, a warning that Cambodia ought to be "wary of the pitfalls often associated with petroleum wealth."

Event the World Bank has issued warnings.

"International experience suggests that such petrochemical wealth may equally well result in a 'resource curse' that actually retards development and poverty reduction."

Before inviting the world oil companies, Cambodia might want to take a closer look at other nations that have done the same, such as Nigeria.

Nigeria, which has the highest oil production in Africa, is straining under the "oil curse" amid a growing militancy, which has targeted oil installations, and environmental risks.

Cambodians could easily follow Nigeria's footsteps.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has been accused of traditionally showing little interest in the rights of his people and earlier this month a leading human rights group accused the Cambodian government of interfering with ongoing preparations in the trial of former Khmer Rouge officials.

The Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979) -- led by Pol Pot -- is accused of killing almost 2 million Cambodians during their short-lived reign.

International legal officials have expressed dismay with Cambodian authorities, with whom they are trying to draft legal parameters for the trial, saying the Cambodians appear unwilling to cooperate so the trials can commence.

"Political interference has brought the whole process to a screeching halt," said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch.