Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cambodian king to visit Brunei Shell Petroleum refinery

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni is scheduled to receive a guided tour of the Brunei Shell Petroleum complex during his official visit next week, according to an itinerary received from a palace source Sunday. Sihamoni is scheduled to arrive in the oil-rich sultanate at the personal invitation of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Monday for a three-day visit.

Brunei, a fellow member of the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations, has said it is advising Cambodia on management of potentially rich offshore oil reserves which the currently impoverished nation expects to tap by the end of the decade.

The royal visit is reciprocal after the sultan's visit to Cambodia last April.

Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd in the oil fields of Seria is a company jointly owned by the sultan's government and Royal Dutch Shell, according to the Brunei Petroleum Unit website.

The government site says the Petroleum Unit acts on behalf of the Brunei government "as a regulatory body prudently monitors and oversees all activities that are carried out by concessionaires holding concession areas in Brunei Darussalam."

Sihamoni is scheduled to end his visit Wednesday after a series of engagements featuring meetings with Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtader, a banquet hosted by the sultan in his honour and meetings with various officials expected to further focus on oil and gas.

Donors have voiced concern that endemic corruption may turn Cambodia's potential oil wealth into a curse.

Brunei, however, has been very supportive of Cambodia in its bid to use oil to assist it in shrugging off its donor dependency after 30 years of civil war.

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