Cambodia will generate its first revenue of about $18 million by selling nearly 3,000 barrels of crude oil to a Singaporean firm if the government approves the latest results of the negotiations between Cambodian officials, the shipment company and the buying firm, according to a senior official of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME).
Recently, Cambodian officials, World Tank, owner of MT-Strovolors and Singaporean oil buyer Trafigura have reached a consensus to bring back the oil Cambodia ‘lost’ last year, the official said.
Meng Saktheara, secretary of state of MME, told Khmer Times yesterday that Trafigura had examined the quantity and quality of the oil stored on MT-Strovolors currently in Thailand after it was purchased from bankrupt KristEnergy that did not pay the shipment fee to World Tank.
“The agency has already confirmed that there is no loss of quantity and quality of oil as the ship has maintained the oil very well,” said Saktheara, who is also the head of Block A Project Implementation.
Saktheara said during a press conference that the oil was lost not due to corruption or collusion among government officials. “KrisEnergy had hired MT-Strovolors to store the oil, but the former breached the agreement by not paying the shipment fees so the latter needed to exercise its rights by keeping the oil till the payment is made.”
“We expect that we will prepare a detailed agreement to be signed soon and conduct the negotiations. If Prime Minister Hun Sen agrees to the results, we will sign it shortly and bring the oil back and sell it,” said Saktheara
KristEnergy was bankrupt when it hired MT-Strovolors to store the oil and ship it out of Block A of Cambodia. As the former was unable to pay shipment fees, the latter took the oil out seeking settlement of the fee.
World Tank then cited weather conditions as an excuse to take the anchor off and set the ship on sail at night.
At about 9 am the next day, captain of KristEnergy who stood by at the oil well platform informed Cambodian officials that the ship left secretly. The government then asked the navy to get the ship back, but it was too late as the ship had already entered Thailand waters.
Later it left for Indonesia and Bangladesh as well despite the best efforts of Cambodia to bring the ship back.
“Even though we tried legal ways to get the ship back, we failed. But we continued the efforts through negotiations based on international laws,” Saktheara said.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.