Oil prices are expected to be fluctuate less in 2013, remaining on a par with or even softening slightly from 2012 levels, say energy experts.
Suthep Liumsirijarern, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, said North America's new oil shale field will come on stream next year with production of about 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent, causing crude oil imports to the US to drop.
Globally, oil demand will go up slightly from 89 million barrels per day this year to 90 million bpd.
Meanwhile, the economic crisis in Europe and the US economy will not fully recover, resulting in easing oil prices in 2013, he said.
Dubai crude is targeted to trade in a range of US$108-113 a barrel compared with an average of $109.50 this year.
In Thailand, the government's first-time car buyer scheme will drive up petrol demand by 4.9% next year to an average of 21.7 million litres a day from 20 million this year.
Diesel demand will grow by 2.6% to 57.7 million litres a day, while electricity consumption will increase by 6.13% from 161 billion megawatt-hours this year.
"We must prepare for energy-price restructuring after it has been delayed for a long time, involving liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG)," said Mr Suthep.
LPG and CNG prices have been subsidised by the state-owned Oil Fund since 2008, costing about 200 billion baht to date.
Anon Sirisaengtaksin, the chief executive of PTT Global Chemicals Plc, said the petrochemicals industry is unlikely to bottom out next year like analysts estimated since the global economy has remained slow.
Petrochemical demand will come mainly from Asia, where economies remain largely sound, according to Mr Anon.
"We have to wait until the US and European economies bounce back. Then signs [of petrochemical prices] bottoming out will emerge," he said.
Phichai Tinsuntisuk, head of the alternative energy industry club of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said ethanol demand will grow by more than 50% from 1.2 million litres a day this year to 2 million litres a day in 2013.
Major automotive manufacturers have launched vehicles that are compatible with E85 and E20.
Meanwhile, the FTI has called on the government to proceed cautiously with the One Tambon One Power Plant scheme to ensure the success of the plan.
Under the programme, the government will introduce biomass projects for communities in remote areas by offering grants, investment privileges and project financing.
"The government should come up with good planing of this project, as local communities lack the expertise to operate power plants," said Mr Phichai.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter