Mineral Fuels Department grants exploration licence to Pan Orient
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Mineral Fuels Department grants exploration licence to Pan Orient

The Department of Mineral Fuels (DMF) has awarded an on-shore petroleum exploration and production (E&P) licence, spanning three provinces northwest of Bangkok, to Pan Orient Energy (Siam) to increase domestic crude oil production by 119,000 barrels over the next seven years.

The Petroleum Committee allowed the company to carry out E&P at AA area, spanning 1.86 square kilometres in L53/48 block, in Nakhon Pathom, Suphan Buri and Kanchanaburi, said Supalak Parn-anulak, DMF's spokesman.

He said AA is an additional area granted to Pan Orient, which has already been awarded E&P licences for six on-shore areas, with combined oil production capacity of 3,000 barrels per day (BPD).

Earlier in March, the Petroleum Committee granted a 10-year contract extension to ExxonMobil Thailand to operate at the on-shore Nam Phong gasfield in Khon Kaen, with natural gas supply of 8 million cubic feet per day.

In February, the committee approved the off-shore E&P Nongnuch Block, or G11/48, in the Gulf of Thailand to MPG 11 Thailand. The area is estimated to produce 5,000 BPD of crude oil from this year to 2033.

Thailand has had no new E&P sites for almost two decades because political activists called on the government to change the country's petroleum business model from concession-granting to production-sharing, which can offer more benefits to the country.

Domestic crude oil production stands at 125,000 BPD, while oil demand is almost 1 million BPD. Thailand imports the difference.

The government planned to call E&P licence bids under Round 23 in 2013, but postponed the bids due to massive opposition. The plan faced further delays in 2014 when global oil prices collapsed to below US$30 per barrel.

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