Central & SE Asia / Australasia

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Summary | Profile

Country profile: Cambodia

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
Climate: tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north
Size: 181040 sq. km total (Land area: 176520 sq. km  Water area: 4520 sq.km)
Population: 14,241,640
Languages: Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Government: multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capital city: Phnom Penh
Legal system: primarily a civil law mixture of French-influenced codes from the United Nations
Currency: riel (KHR)

Country profile

Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863 and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war.

The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders are awaiting trial by a UN-sponsored tribunal for crimes against humanity. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King SIHANOUK abdicated the throne due to illness and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, and there was little in the way of pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections are scheduled for July 2008.

Cambodian offshore oilfields may yet yield millions of barrels more oil than previously estimated, a senior government official has said. Speaking at a recent seminar in Phnom Penh on the country's oil and gas assets, Cambodian National Petroleum Authority director-general Te Duong Tara said exploration by US oil giant Chevron in its Block A allocation alone indicated that its initial estimate of around 400 million barrels had been too conservative.
Block A is one of six demarkated areas. Japanese, Chinese, South Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean and Thai interests are also involved in Cambodian offshore oil exploration.
'According to estimates before drilling five wells we said that Block A has perhaps 400 million barrels and three to five GPS of gas. This was the previous estimate, but a subsequent tendency increases that from 400 to 700 million barrels,' he said.
Chevron is the largest investor in Cambodian offshore oil reserves and has so far poured around $130 million into exploration.
With Block A the only block so far to be significantly explored, it remained unclear whether other blocks would also yield higher than previously estimated, and if so by how much.
Investment opportunities in the country's offshore blocks were all but closed and negotiations with a final small Chinese company he declined to name looked set to fill available slots there.
Cambodia's oil boom is only just beginning and the government was already looking at exploring significant potential onshore reserves in a range of provinces including central provinces of Kampong Chhnang and Pursat, as well as Kampong Thom and the Thai border provinces of Battambang and Preah Vihear.
'Cambodia is poor and finding oil provides huge potential for the national economy.
The World Bank estimates had previously put Cambodia's total offshore oil potential at up to 2 billion barrels, the extraction of which the United Nations Development Program has said could potentially double the nation's annual GDP and significantly reduce the country's current dependence on foreign aid.


Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Consumption: 3,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Exports:  bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Imports: 3,585 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Major fields:

Cambodia - recent news

10 Oct 22
Cambodia: Angkor Resources' energy subsidiary granted exploration and production licence onshore Cambodia
Angkor Resources has announced that its energy subsidiary, EnerCam Resources, has received final licensing for exploration, development, and production on Block VIII onshore Cambodia.
28 Apr 21
Cambodia: KrisEnergy provides update on Apsara oil field review
Kris Energy has received the independent review of the Apsara field’s performance by third-party petroleum engineering consultant, Netherland, Sewell & Associates (NSAI). Based on performance data of the five wells since they were brought online on 23 February 2021, NSAI concluded that estimated ultimate recovery from the five development wells is likely to be a small fraction of the pre-development estimates.
04 Jan 21
Cambodia: KrisEnergy's Apsara oil field comes onstream
KrisEnergy has announced that Cambodia's first oil field in the offshore Cambodia Block A concession commenced production on December 28 2020. Production is expected to reach a peak rate of approx. 7,500 bopd once the drilling program is completed in mid-February 2021.
26 Aug 20
Cambodia: KrisEnergy hits milestone in Cambodia Block A Apsara oil development as platform sails for field location
KrisEnergy has announced that fabrication of the minimum facilities wellhead platform ('Mini-Platform') for the Apsara oil development offshore Cambodia Block A is completed and the topsides and jacket are being transported to Cambodian waters in the Gulf of Thailand for installation.
01 May 20
Cambodia: KrisEnergy secures loan facility for Cambodia Apsara oil development
KrisEnergy has entered into a credit facility agreement with Kepinvest Singapore for up to US$87 million. The loan facility will be used to fund the development of the Company's Apsara oil field in Block A, offshore Cambodia.

Cambodia - more news

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