Today’s Sydney Morning Herald carries a good story on Cambodia’s oil find. Here is an extract:
Still clawing its way out of the ruins of its brutal past, Cambodia has come face to face with an extraordinary new future: it seems to have struck oil. The oil giant Chevron says it has found potentially huge deposits off the southern shore, as a result of exploratory drilling that began two years ago. The company has not made the results known, but given other likely deposits nearby and with mineral finds being explored onshore, experts say, Cambodia could be a resource-rich nation. Senior officials, including the Prime Minister, Hun Sen, have been feeding the excitement this year, offering extravagantly optimistic estimates that the oil money could start to flow within two or three years. But this is not necessarily good news. For many struggling countries, such as Nigeria and Chad, oil has dragged them into deeper poverty and corruption in what some call the oil curse.
Occasional New Mandala contributor, Maylee, has a good comment over at the RMAP Blog:
There has been much journalistic debate over whether or not Cambodia is likely to use it’s new found oil wealth for the good of its people or whether it will further enhance Cambodia’s status as Southeast Asia’s most rampant kleptocracy. Hun Sen has repeatedly sworn it will be used to the benefit of all Cambodian people. Not that “the people” are likely to be heard at the polls if they this doesn’t happen – Hun Sen recently won 98% of commune chief positions in last month’s commune elections. One commentator at a Cambodian website noted that this result is second only to Sadam Hussien’s election result prior to American invasion.