PTT urged to accelerate gas business
The Energy Ministry has ordered PTT Plc, the national oil and gas firm, to accelerate its gas business so that the country can become a liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading hub in Southeast Asia.
Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said yesterday that the government will support PTT's gas business at the regional level and that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will ease related regulations for LNG import and re-export.
"PTT is capable of becoming a regional trader because the company is heavily invested in gas infrastructure and human resources," he said.
PTT plans to operate an LNG trading business to transport a limited volume by marine vessels and heavy-duty trucks across Indochina.
"The company is studying the feasibility of the LNG trading business, expecting to reach a conclusion in a couple of months," Mr Sontirat said. "The business plan will be proposed to the National Energy Policy Council in December."
He said PTT has 40 years' experience in the gas business and owns an integrated gas infrastructure.
Wuttikorn Stithit, PTT's senior executive vice-president for gas business, said PTT is testing its gas trading business.
The plan includes providing fully integrated services such as small-scale distribution, gas pipeline development, energy solutions, power backup and renewable energy.
"The company is ready to provide services after testing the business model the past couple of years," Mr Wuttikorn said.
PTT also has two innovative projects for LNG distribution selected to join the ERC sandbox for testing before commercial adoption.
The ERC has received 100 project submissions from companies, with 34 selected for the sandbox.
PTT has developed a gas pipeline from its petroleum block in the Gulf of Thailand, distributing gas to power plants of the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand since 1981.
The company started selling gas to industrial operators in 1986.
PTT entered the LNG business through PTT LNG by constructing a receiving terminal in Map Ta Phut in 2011. It started providing compressed natural gas in 2015.
The LNG trading plan creates a foothold for PTT, creating a path to enter neighbouring countries.
The two receiving terminals in Rayong have a total capacity of 19 million tonnes a year.
The first is in Map Ta Phut, with 11.5 million tonnes a year, while the other is being constructed in Nong Fab with a capacity of 7.5 million tonnes.
The Nong Fab plant will begin operations in 2021.
The utilisation rate for the Map Ta Phut facility is 5 million tonnes.