Euro 5 upgrade delayed at 6 refineries
The enforcement of Euro 5 emissions standards will be postponed from 2024 after lockdown measures halted upgrade plans at six refineries, says the Energy Business Department.
The upgrade requires technical help from overseas experts who are unable to visit Thailand because of travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic, said department chief Nanthika Thangsupanich.
The National Environmental Board will meet next Monday to discuss the delay of mandatory Euro 5 environmental standards meant to lower emissions from cars.
Ms Nanthika said three refineries are revamping their facilities to produce Euro 5 fuel, while others have yet to begin development because it requires high capital spending.
In related news, the government is considering delaying a plan to make E20 the fundamental petrol at all stations because of the crisis.
The plan, originally set for this October, should be changed to next year to give officials at least nine months to prepare, Ms Nanthika said.
The pandemic has pushed the country to use ethanol to produce hand sanitiser over the past three months.
E20 was launched in Thailand over a decade ago to use ethanol from molasses and cassava, making up 20%, blended with unleaded petrol at 80%. But local use fell below the government's expectations.
Last year, E20 consumption stood at 6.5 million litres a day, representing 20% of all petrol use of 32-33 million litres a day.
In another development, national oil and gas firm PTT expects to start LNG trade in the third quarter this year under the government's plan to make Thailand a regional trading hub for liquefied natural gas, said Wuttikorn Stithit, PTT's senior executive vice-president for gas business.
The plan will enable PTT to export LNG to neighbouring countries.
Mr Wuttikorn declined to reveal the volume of the first shipment, saying only that the company is ready to operate in the LNG trade after nine years of operations at its first receiving terminal in Rayong's Map Ta Phut, with annual capacity of 19 million tonnes.
PTT has imported LNG since 2011 to supply gas domestically to the power generation and industrial sectors.
Policymakers opened the LNG market in 2015 after a four-year monopoly held by PTT. The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand was the first to receive a shipping licence last year.
The three other licence holders are Ratch Group, Gulf Energy Development and B.Grimm Power.