Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen says recent offshore oil discoveries would be a blessing, not a curse for the impoverished country.
Mr. Hun Sen says the potential wealth would be used to reduce poverty and to increase economic growth.
He was addressing concerns that a sudden influx of wealth might benefit the country's elite at the expense of the overwhelmingly poor population.
The U.S. energy giant Chevron Corporation discovered oil in four test wells off the Cambodian coast in 2005.
Firms from France, South Korea, China and Japan are reported to be seeking exploration licenses.