Publish - 15/06/2015

PTT Plc has earmarked 208.5 billion baht for natural gas operations over the next six years.

Pailin Chuchottaworn, chief executive of the national energy conglomerate, said the money was aimed at enhancing the country's energy security amid depletion of domestic gas resources and frequent outages of gas supplies from Myanmar and the Gulf of Thailand.

 Speaking at the official opening ceremony for PTT's business portfolio exhibition at the 26th World Gas Conference in the French capital, Mr Pailin said Thailand suffered gas disruptions in recent years, with the situation only growing worse.

"We'll put liquefied natural gas (LNG) to use as a reserve gas resource during gas disruptions or a major system overhaul," he said.

The five-day conference ended last Friday.

Of the total budget, some 143 billion baht will go to gas pipeline development and capacity expansion, while the remaining 65.5 billion will fund three LNG receiving units.

Of the three units, one will be built onshore and the others will be floating.

PTT is expected to rely more heavily on LPG, importing more than 35 million tonnes a year in the next 10 years, up from 3 million tonnes at present.

For new gas supply, the company will talk to major suppliers in Africa, the US and Australia over the next four years.

"Myanmar may not sell gas to Thailand any more, while other gas resources in the claimed area between Thailand and Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand will not be finalised soon, o we need to rely on imported LNG," Mr Pailin said.

An on-land LNG receiving terminal worth US$1 billion and with annual capacity of 7.5 million tonnes is to be located at Map Ta Phut in Rayong province. 

This unit will be the third terminal in the area. The first gas receiving unit at Map Ta Phut has operated at a capacity of 5 million tonnes a year since 2011.

The second unit worth 21 billion baht is still under construction and is likely to start up in 2017.

The two other planned LNG units are designed with floating storage and a gasification unit.

One floating unit worth $600 million is to be located in Songkhla's Chana district, while the other unit worth $400 million is tipped for Myanmar, either in Kanbouk or Dawei.

Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee plans to discuss the issue with Myanmar officials soon.

All three receiving units are expected to go online from 2023-25.

PTT shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 344 baht, down two baht, in heavy trade worth 1.08 billion baht.

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