PHNOM PENH, April 5 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government approved on Friday a long-anticipated draft law on petroleum, said a government statement.
The approval was made during a weekly cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, said the statement.
The draft bill consists of nine chapters with 72 articles, it said.
"This draft law is aimed at promoting and developing the country's petroleum industry sustainably and effectively in order to contribute to socio-economic development for a long term," government spokesman Phay Siphan wrote on his Facebook page.
He said the draft law was first initiated in 1996.
After the government's approval, the draft bill needs to be adopted by the National Assembly and finally reviewed by the Senate before being submitted to the king for promulgation.
The Southeast Asian country is expected to extract its first drop of oil from one of its offshore oilfields later this year, Mines and Energy Ministry Secretary of State Meng Saktheara said on Tuesday.
Currently, Singapore-based oil and gas company KrisEnergy has been developing an oil rig, an oil platform, and other necessary infrastructure in the Apsara oilfield, located in Block A over the Khmer Basin in the Gulf of Thailand, he said.
Block A, covering 3,083 square kilometers, is one of several oilfields found off Cambodian waters in southwestern Preah Sihanouk province.