SET-listed PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) plans to increase its petroleum production capacity in the Middle East and Malaysia to brace for the depletion of domestic gas and oil supply within a decade.
Energy analysts predict oil and gas produced in the country will shrink, causing Thailand to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG), said Sumrid Sumneing, executive vice-president for finance and accounting at PTTEP.
Last year, the drop in the domestic gas supply, especially at the Erawan gas field in the Gulf of Thailand, caused the country to import more LNG even as prices skyrocketed, following the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Thailand depends heavily on gas, which makes up around 60% of the fuel used for power generation in the country. Greater use of imported LNG, especially from the spot market, means the country cannot avoid price fluctuations that can drive up power bills.
Domestic gas supply peaked in 2014 when a new gas block named South Bongkot brought the total gas production from all energy companies in the country to 3,800 metric million standard cubic feet per day, according to the Department of Mineral Fuels.
With the gas volume in the country expected to decline, PTTEP plans to focus on petroleum exploration and production projects in Malaysia and the Middle East, said Mr Sumrid.
The move should ensure national energy security and promises new business opportunities for the company, he said.
Oil and gas from domestic sources account for 67% of PTTEP's total petroleum sales, followed by 11% from the Middle East, 10% from Malaysia, 9% from Myanmar and the remainder from three countries: Indonesia, Vietnam and Algeria.
The company's new gas field in Malaysia is SK410B's Lang Lebah, located off the coast of Sarawak. The Lang Lebah project completed front-end engineering design in October and is expected to have its first gas production in the first half of 2028. Other petroleum sites in Malaysia include SK314A, SK438, SK417, PM407 and PM415, all of which are in the exploration stage.
PTTEP also operates a petroleum production business in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
The company expects average gas prices in the world market to tally US$5.8-5.9 per million British thermal units, while the Dubai crude oil reference price should be in the range of $70-90 per barrel next year, said Mr Sumrid.
The company's total sales volume in 2024 is expected to increase to an average of 510,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOED), up from 463,000 BOED this year.