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China's CNOOC to start drilling 1st oil well offshore in Cambodia

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PHNOM PENH, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) will start drilling the first well in the Block F offshore in Cambodia's Preah Sihanouk province later this month, Li Fanrong, the company's Chief Executive Officer, said Wednesday.

His disclosure was made during a meeting with Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, minister of the council of ministers, according to Ek Tha, spokesman and deputy director of the Council of Ministers' Press Department.

Li Fanrong said the start of the drilling showed the firm's commitment to investing in Cambodia's oil and gas sector and it resulted from good and long relationship between Cambodia and China, according to Ek Tha.

The first well drilling is expected to cost 20 million U.S. dollars.

Meanwhile, Sok An said it was a very good sign for Cambodia's oil and gas sector and added that Cambodia fully supported the firm for the drilling.

He also asked the CNOOC, which is China's biggest offshore oil and gas company, to help develop Cambodian petroleum officials to keep up with new techniques in oil and gas industry.

The government of Cambodia awarded the Block F in the total area of over 7,000 square kilometers to the CNOOC in 2007, according to the document of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority.

The Block F is one of the six offshore Blocks that Cambodia awarded to companies to do the exploration.

The other five Blocks are Block A by the U.S. Chevron and Japan ' s Mitsui Oil Exploration, Block B to Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production and Singapore Petroleum, Block C to Polytec Petroleum Hong Kong, Block D to China Petrotech Holdings Limited, and Block E to Medco Energi and Kuwait Energy.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation hopes that the first drop of its own-produced oil will be available from December, 2012 as now Cambodia's Petrochemical Company, a joint-venture with the China National Automation Control System Corporation, has been studying the feasibility to build an oil refinery with an annual capacity of 5 million tons per year in Preah Sihanouk province.

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