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Thailand, Cambodia Restart Talks on Overlapping Gas Claims

While international attention has largely focused on China’s disputes with its neighbors the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei over the offshore riches of the contested Spratly islands, other energy maritime disputes are roiling Southeastern Asian waters.

The Thai government is preparing to revive talks with Cambodia on overlapping petroleum claims in the Gulf of Thailand, which have been deadlocked since 2006. Thailand and Cambodia share an area in the Gulf of Thailand that encompasses more than 10,000 square miles in the “Overlapping Claims Area,” or (OCA), The Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand and Cambodia are also in dispute over a land frontier surrounding the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by an International Court of Justice decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site.

The OCA is thought to contain up to 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In 2001 Cambodia and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding on a proposed joint development of the southern portion of the OCA, with the northern portion eventually to be divided by a defined maritime border. Phnom Penh and Bangkok had nearly reached agreement on the overlapping OCA claims before the 2006 coup that toppled the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Three years later Thailand unilaterally cancelled the agreement to protest Thaksin's appointment as an economic adviser to the Cambodian government.

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com



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