Wednesday, March 26, 2008

UNDP recommends joint development of overlapping Thai-Cambodia oil fields

PHNOM PENH, March 27 (Xinhua) -- An United Nations Development Program (UNDP) conference has suggested that a joint development area (JDA) is probably the best way to begin developing offshore oilfields claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia, local media reported Thursday.

Elinar Risa, former advisor to the Timor-Leste Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, said that JDAs, where neighboring countries agree to split income from overlapping oil and gas fields, are in most cases preferable to continued disputes, according to the Mekong Times newspaper.

JDAs can reduce political tensions and increase investor confidence, Risa said during the UNDP Fuelling Poverty Reduction with Oil and Gas Revenues Conference in Phnom Penh.

A JDA deal between Timor-Leste and Australia sees income from overlapping fields split 90/10 in favor of Timor-Leste.

A 27,000 square km offshore area, larger than the total area off all Cambodia's undisputed potential oil fields and thought by experts to hold rich hydrocarbon deposits, has been claimed by both Cambodia and Thailand.

Cambodian officials have argued that any income should be evenly split between the two countries but there is yet to be any binding agreement.

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