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Thai-Cambodia maritime dispute likely to ease in 2017

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Outlook for the Thai-Cambodia Overlapping Claims Area agreement.


Thai and Cambodian officials have pursued closed-door negotiations since January 2015 on the Overlapping Claims Area (OCA) in the Gulf of Thailand, which geologists estimate holds substantial hydrocarbon deposits. Companies that have won licences for oil and gas exploration from the two governments seek completion of the talks, since they are unable to drill or conduct other activities until a formal agreement is reached on joint development of the OCA and demarcation of a maritime border.


  • Thailand and Cambodia will prioritise OCA talks over implementing the ICJ decision on Preah Vihear.
  • Unlike the Preah Vihear dispute that caused low-level conflict from 2008 to 2011, the OCA dispute is unlikely to spark military exchanges.
  • There is greater risk of protests against one or both governments, over perceptions that they had conceded too much in the agreement.

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