PTT forecasts stronger gas demand
Pre-Covid levels expected this year
Gas demand in Thailand is expected to return to pre-Covid 19 levels at 4,800 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) this year even though the country has encountered two outbreaks that have led to travel restrictions, says PTT Plc.
Last year, the pandemic caused demand to decrease by 10% to 4,300 MMSCFD but in the first quarter of 2021, demand grew by 8% year-on-year to 4,600 MMSCFD despite the second wave of Covid-19 earlier this year.
The third wave, which began in April, has threatened to further reduce fuel consumption even further. According to the Department of Energy Business, consumption of almost all fuel types contracted by 7.7% in the first three months of the year.
State measures, including work-from-home guidelines to curb the spread of the virus, may affect gas consumption in the transport sector but it is still crucial for power generation, making up 60% of all fuel used, said Wuttikorn Stithit, PTT senior executive vice-president for gas business. Demand for electricity, driven by industrial and household sectors, has kept growing, he said.
Hot weather from March to May has only increased the demand for power.
Almost 66% of natural gas in Thailand is supplied by domestic sources while 17% is imported from Myanmar and another 17% is imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
To meet the rising demand for electricity this year, PTT plans to import 6.5 million tonnes of LNG with 5.2 million tonnes under long-term purchase contracts and the rest from the spot market.
More imports are needed due to the depletion of gas in the Yetakun off-shore gas field in Myanmar which suspended service earlier this year, said Mr Wuttikorn.
PTT Exploration and Production Plc is still supplying gas from the Zawtika off-shore gas block in Myanmar to Thailand.
The Energy Regulatory Commission will allow four new firms, which have been granted LNG shipping licences, to import LNG this year. They are B.Grimm Power Plc, Hin Kong Power Co, Gulf Energy Development Plc and state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
In the electric vehicle (EV) business, PTT plans to install EV charging outlets at 10 of its 400 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in a move to help the state develop EV infrastructure, said Mr Wuttikorn. The new facilities are set to open in the third quarter of this year.
PTT will give a new look to a CNG station near its headquarters on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road by opening Harumiki House bakery shops and a Kathi Station, and coconut ice cream shops as it prepares to pilot non-gas businesses.
- gas demand