Central & SE Asia / Australasia

Laos flag
Summary | Profile

Country profile: Laos

Location: Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Size: 236800 sq. km total (Land area: 230800 sq. km  Water area: 6000 sq.km)
Population: 6,677,534 (July 2008 est.)
Languages: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
Government: Communist state
Capital city: Vientiane
Legal system: based on traditional customs, French legal norms and procedures, and socialist practice; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: kip (LAK)

Country profile

There has been relatively little hydrocarbon exploration in Laos. In June 2007 Salamander signed the Savannakhet PSC, which represented the first interest in oil and gas in the country since 1998. The PSC covers an area of over 19,000 sq km in the Savannakhet block to the east of the Mekong river. Oil shows were first reported in Laos in 1935 in the Savannakhet area. Two exploration permits were awarded in 1959 to a French company, but activity was very limited and the company pulled out in 1960. In 1974 exploration activity restarted, but was curtailed during a period of political change as the communists took over. More recently, Enterprise Oil signed up the Savannakhet PSC in 1989.

In 1990, the Hunt Oil Company signed the Pakse PSC and in 1991, Monument Oil & Gas signed the Vientiane PSC. Drilling got underway in 1996 when Hunt spudded the Pakse-1 well which turned out to be a dry hole and the PSC was relinquished in 1997. Enterprise withdrew in 1998 and was followed by Monument in the same year after it had drilled the Naxay-1 well.

Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Consumption: 2,950 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Imports: 2,898 bbl/day (2004 est.)  
Major fields:

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