Development of Cambodia’s oil and gas industry


Cooperating institutions
Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA) UNDP

Goals and objectives
Strengthen Cambodia’s ability to manage the exploration and production of its petroleum resources by improving the CNPA’s ability to write and maintain the legal framework for its upstream and downstream petroleum industry, carry out bilateral negotiations and establish a legal framework for utilization of petroleum resources in overlapping claims areas, negotiate petroleum licences with oil companies, and promote Cambodia’s petroleum resources by maintaining a competitive licensing system and a model petroleum contract.

More specific objectives include improving the upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum law of Cambodia; concluding agreements with Thailand concerning the overlapping claims area; enhancing the licensing procedures and the model petroleum contract; improving the human resources and organizational structure of the CNPA; and increasing awareness of the importance of good governance and anti-corruption measures.

Project period
2006–2008 (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, NPD)
2007–2009 (UNDP)

Total budget
NOK 8.8 million (NPD)
NOK 3.5 million (UNDP)

The programme consists of the following main components:

  • Legal framework
  • Bilateral negotiations with Thailand regarding the overlapping claims area
  • Licensing and model petroleum contract
  • Competence building

Oil for Development:
Mr. Petter Stigset,

Cooperating institutions in Norway
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) (2006–2008) Cambod ia Development of Cambodia’s oil and gas industry


Country facts


Official Name
Kingdom of Cambodia

Phnom Penh

Chief of state
King Norodom Sihamoni

Head of Government
Prime Minister Hun Sen

14 494 293 (2009 est.)

Petroleum sector, key figures
No oil or gas production (2009)

Organization of the sector
The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA) reports directly to the Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Sok An is Chairman of the CNPA.


Brief history of the project

The CNPA has received assistance from Norway related to petroleum governance for several years through projects run through the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience (CCOP). In February 2004, the CNPA applied to the Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok for assistance related to the development of Cambodia’s oil and gas industry. Petrad conducted a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) for the CNPA in 2004. Following the results from the TNA, an initiating seminar was conducted in Phnom Penh in March 2005 with representatives from the NPD, Norad, Petrad, the CNPA and other Cambodian government agencies, in addition to several Norwegian and international legal firms. Based on the findings from the seminar a revised application for assistance was sent to Norad in June 2005.

The final agreement between Norad and the CNPA was signed in December 2005. The contract between the CNPA and the NPD for technical cooperation was signed in June 2006, and the contract for the legal work was signed with the Norwegian law firm Wikborg Rein in agreement with the CNPA. A resident project coordinator was appointed in December 2006.


Activities in 2009

The assistance to the CNPA continued at a reduced pace in 2009, primarily through the resident coordinator. The draft Petroleum Law was completed and general on-the-job training of CNPA personnel was provided. An improved framework for coordination between the main development partners (World Bank, UNDP and Asian Development Bank) was established. Financial support to the civil society in Cambodia continued, primarily through the Revenue Watch Institute.

Direct support to the UNDP for the project “Fuelling Poverty Reduction with Oil and Gas Revenues” continued through 2009. Financial support to the World Bank Project “Strengthening Sector Operational Financial Management” was formalized.

One person from Cambodian civil society participated in Petrad’s eightweek programme on Petroleum Policy and Resource Management.


Key achievements in 2009

Completion of the draft petroleum law, which has been translated to the Khmer language.

The Petrad course participant from civil society has applied the knowledge gained during his course in public discussions about management of the petroleum sector in Cambodia.