Production of regular petrol will be phased out in Thailand from next January, three months later than the previous start date, says the Energy Ministry.
Arak: Refineries support biofuel plan
Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon yesterday said one reason for the delay is local oil refineries are still not ready to change out their production mode.
As well, the fire at Bangchak Petroleum Plc's Bangkok refinery in July has caused a supply shortage.
The ministry originally announced petrol 91 would be phased out from this past January in a bid to promote greater use of ethanol blends, but that plan was postponed to this month.
The new delay stems from Bangchak not being able to resume normal production until two weeks from now.
"I have discussed the matter with all oil refineries, and they have agreed to support the ministry's policy of pushing for greater consumption of biofuels," said Mr Arak.
Daily domestic production of 20 manufacturers totals 3.27 million litres, but Thais now consume only 1.3 million litres a day.
Each day, 20-21 million litres of fuel of all types are consumed _ 8 million litres of pure petrol and the rest E10, E20 and E85 gasohol.
However, Mr Arak said phasing out petrol 95 will not be mandatory but rather up to each oil trader. Premium petrol will not be phased out.
Thaioil Plc, Thailand's largest oil refinery, said it is ready to end production of regular petrol, and there will be no impact on its production.
"We've had a plan in place for this ever since the Energy Ministry's first deadline of January this year," said Pongpun Amornvivat, Thaioil's corporate commercial planning manager.
Sirivuthi Siamphakdee, president of the Thai Ethanol Manufacturers Association, welcomed the ministry's announcement despite the delays.
Without regular petrol in the market, ethanol demand will increase to 2 million litres a day from 1.3 million now, he said.
Thaioil's daily ethanol capacity is being bumped to 5 million litres at a cost of 3.27 million baht.
"Ethanol manufacturers are exporting output to cope with the domestic oversupply," said Mr Sirivuthi.
In a related development, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra chaired a meeting of the National Energy Policy Committee yesterday where she assigned energy-related agencies to accelerate exploring more natural gas supplies from abroad including those in the overlapping areas between Thailand and Cambodia.
Ms Yingluck told the meeting that completing talks with Cambodia over co-development of offshore oil and gas fields in these areas would help to ease Thailand's energy supply constraints.
Suthep Liumsirijarern, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, said natural gas is expected to increase from 4.17 billion cubic feet per day last year to 5.33 billion cfpd in 2016 and 7 billion cfpd in 2030.
Mr Suthep said yesterday's committee meeting gave the nod to the second stage of a 21.4-billion-baht liquefied natural gas receiving terminal of PTT LNG Co.
About the author
Writer: Yuthana Praiwan & Chatrudee Theparat