New gas outline close to complete

New gas outline close to complete

The Energy Ministry is proceeding with a new draft of the national gas plan 2018-37, expecting to get the green light from Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong next week.

A source from the ministry requesting anonymity said all relevant agencies are working to complete the gas plan, which will be proposed to the minister for approval.

The gas plan is part of the national power development plan (PDP) 2018-37, with the new PDP approved by the National Energy Policy Council in January.

The gas plan will emphasise gas exploration and production activities in the Gulf of Thailand, which is nearing depletion.

With few gas resources, the government will need to import liquefied natural gas (LNG), the source said.

Under the gas plan, LNG imports are projected at 24-25 million tonnes per year, but PTT, the sole LNG importer, has import capacity of only 5 million tonnes.

The gas facilities in Rayong, both on-shore and floating terminals, need to be expanded to serve the larger volume of imported LNG in the near future.

"The ministry will consider granting a licence to develop and operate the facility," the source said.

According to the gas plan draft, two significant projects will be LNG terminals in Surat Thani and Songkhla.

The gas terminal in Surat Thani will feed a newly developed gas-fired power plant in the same province.

The Songkhla terminal will feed new floating storage regasification units, also known as the enormous LNG marine fleet.

This LNG marine fleet in the South will support existing operations in Rayong, where gas drilled from the Gulf of Thailand is stored.

"Once gas in the Gulf of Thailand is depleted, LNG will be the alternative fuel," the source said.

There are plans to restart a retired oil-fuelled generator in Surat Thani, but with gas instead, because the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) cannot push forward development of a coal-fired power plant in Krabi.

Under the plan, Egat will be the second shipper for LNG after PTT, in line with the government's policy to liberalise LNG importation.

The import plan has yet to be implemented by Egat because the former minister -- Siri Jirapongphan -- sent back a plan to import 1.5 million tonnes of LNG in May.

Egat selected Malaysia's Petronas LNG to import and supply LNG to Egat's power plants.

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