The Department of Mineral Fuels has awarded petroleum exploration and production licences to Chevron Offshore Thailand and PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP), as part of efforts to increase gas supply from the Gulf of Thailand and reduce power bills over the long term.
The two firms, which met the minimum criteria set by the department for production-sharing contracts, will operate in three petroleum blocks: G2/65, which covers 15,030 square kilometres and was awarded to Chevron; and G1/65 and G3/65, covering a combined area of 20,133 sq km to be explored by PTT’s oil and gas drilling unit.
Chatit Huayhongtong, president of Chevron Thailand, said the company is ready to enter the area and conduct a seismic survey to find whether the block has potential for petroleum production.
The company believes it should discover gas in the area because it is adjacent to the Pailin block, a natural gas production site currently operated by Chevron.
Montri Rawanchaikul, chief executive of PTTEP, said new technology would accelerate exploration and production at the new petroleum sites, which would support plans to increase domestic gas supply, enabling Thailand to depend less on the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
PTTEP said earlier it would continue to push ahead with its plan to increase production capacity at its Erawan gas field to 400 million metric standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) by the middle of this year, up from 200 MMSCFD at present, in order to increase gas supply in the country.
Erawan is also located in the Gulf.
Last year LNG was blamed for driving up the cost of electricity bills after LNG prices skyrocketed, mainly due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Thailand needs to import more LNG, following a drop in cheaper gas supplies in the country, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission.
Gas is a key fuel in Thailand, making up over 57% of the total fuel used to generate electricity.
The new licences would ensure energy security for the country in the long term and play an important role in helping drive the domestic economy, said Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who presided over a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the granting of the licences.