Thailand, Cambodia expected to renew talks on maritime boundary claims

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The OCA, spanning approximately 26,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Thailand has been a long-stalled topic since the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding in 2001 regarding their overlapping maritime claims, which became the starting point of negotiations.

The issue of overlapping claims areas (OCA) is expected to be on agenda during talks between the Thai prime minister and his Cambodian counterpart as the latter is scheduled to visit Thailand on Wednesday (Feb7).

The OCA, spanning approximately 26,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Thailand has been a long-stalled topic since the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding in 2001 regarding their overlapping maritime claims, which became the starting point of negotiations.



However, both sides were not able to make much progress since then. The unresolved OCA has persisted for over 22 years.

Two key areas within the overlapping claims are the northern area above the 11th parallel north, requiring a clear demarcation of a 10,000 square kilometer maritime border in accordance with the international law and the southern area below the 11th parallel north, covering 16,000 square kilometers, with the aim of establishing a Joint Development Area (JDA) similar to Thailand’s collaboration with Malaysia.


Montri Rawanchaikul, the CEO of PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP), commented on the ongoing negotiations, emphasizing the need for both countries to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Montri Rawanchaikul, the CEO of PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP), commented on the ongoing negotiations, emphasizing the need for both countries to find a mutually agreeable solution. He expressed hope for collaborative development and resource sharing in the overlapping claims area without clearly defining the disputed boundary.



Furthermore, if an agreement is reached, PTTEP is prepared to conduct exploration and production activities in the region. While the area has not been officially surveyed in the past, it is believed to hold significant potential, given its proximity to known oil and gas sources.

The advancement of technology could expedite exploration and production processes, potentially leading to the discovery of first gas within five years, a substantial reduction from the previously estimated nine years. This collaborative effort will enhance energy security for both Thailand and Cambodia, he said. (TNA)