CHIANG MAI : The natural gas supply from Myanmar's Yadana and Yetagun blocks will be disrupted again from April 4-12 when electricity demand peaks at the height of the hot season, says the energy minister.
Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said energy policymakers will meet in the next two weeks to discuss the expected disruption of Myanmar gas.
Some 25% of the gas supply in Thailand comes from Myanmar, amounting to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day. Overall, Thailand consumes 4.2 billion to 4.4 billion cfpd.
Related agencies intend to tackle the situation by shifting from gas to fuel oil and diesel while promoting energy savings, said the minister.
Gas from the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area was interrupted last month by marine accidents, but deliveries from the block resumed early this month.
"We will discuss how to handle the situation, as April is the hot season and demand for electricity is normally very high," said Mr Pongsak.
"We also need to figure out how to diversify fuels used in electricity generation since we rely hugely on gas for power generation by as much as 70%."
Pailin Chuchottaworn, chief executive of the energy giant PTT Plc, said the company has talked to Malaysia's Petronas and France's Total - the operators of gas production from the Yadana and Yetagun blocks - about postponing scheduled maintenance until the long holidays in mid-April, when demand for electricity will decline.
He said PTT had appealed to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc, two major gas users, to increase their fuel reserves.
Thailand was in havoc when the 2009 Myanmar gas disruption occurred without advance warning.
The incident prompted Egat immediately to boost the capacity of hydroelectric power plants to maximum levels.
In other news, Mr Pongsak said the Energy Ministry will maintain its policy of capping diesel at below 30 baht a litre for another four months to alleviate the rising cost of living.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter