The Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) on October 16 signed an agreement to fund a 1.67 billion USD loan to a Cambodian company for the construction of an oil refinery.

The move came after the Cambodian Petrochemical Company and several Chinese firms inked a Memorandum of Understanding in April to jointly build a five-million-tonne oil refinery project in Cambodia .

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Cambodian Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon said that once completed, the project will contribute significantly to developing the country’s economy and reducing poverty.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen recently urged the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), the world's fourth-largest oil producer, to speed up and finish the construction of the oil refinery by 2018.

Currently, Cambodia entirely imports oil and gas from Vietnam , Singapore and Thailand . According to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, last year, the Southeast Asian nation spent 1.62 billion USD on importing about 1.65 million tonnes of oil.

During the first eight months of this year, the nation imported 1.1 million tonnes of oil, costing 1.04 billion USD.

The government has estimated that the demand of oil will increase up to 4 million tonnes annually in the coming time due to rapid economic growth.-VNA