August 6, 2010 / 10:32 AM / 9 years ago

Cambodia to sign cooperation deal with Iran on oil

PHNOM PENH, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Officials from Cambodia are to travel to Iran next week and the two countries will sign agreements covering cooperation in the oil sector, the foreign minister of the Southeast Asian state said on Friday.

Hor Namhong, who will meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the delegation’s visit on Aug. 10-11, declined to give details on the agreements but he told a news conference Cambodia could benefit from Iranian know-how.

Oil companies are operating off Cambodia but the country is not expected to produce its first oil until 2012.

Koy Kuong, undersecretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told Reuters the agreements would involve the exchange of experience and knowledge, and Iran would also provide technical support for the Cambodian oil industry.

Asked why Cambodia had chosen Iran for such agreements, he said: “We are a non-partisan country. We are friends with everyone in the world.”

The United States, European Union and others have imposed sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear programme, targeting in particular investment in its oil and gas industries. [ID:nLDE66D0Y3]

Chevron Corp (CVX.N) is operating Block A in the Gulf of Thailand and Total (TOTF.PA) also has exploration rights in the area. Three Japanese firms — Inpex (1605.T), Marubeni Oil and Gas, which is a subsidiary of Marubeni Corp (8002.T), and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co, a unit of trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd (8031.T) — have also shown interest in exploring. (Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Alan Raybould) prak.chanthul@thomsonreuters.com; +855 2 399 2102; Reuters Messaging: prak.chanthul.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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