Energy producers urge talks on claims dispute

Energy producers urge talks on claims dispute

The Erawan gas field in the Gulf of Thailand. The OCA sits on the same plateau as Erawan, a key gas source for the country.
The Erawan gas field in the Gulf of Thailand. The OCA sits on the same plateau as Erawan, a key gas source for the country.

Member companies of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Industry Club are keen to support fresh government efforts to resume oft-delayed talks on joint petroleum production by Thailand and Cambodia in the overlapping claims area (OCA) in the Gulf of Thailand.

The club supports continuing OCA negotiations with Cambodia, said Nipatsin Yimyam, chairman of the club under the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The OCA, which is claimed by Thailand and Cambodia, is likely to be a new petroleum source for both countries because the site is near the Bongkot and Erawan gas blocks, according to the Department of Mineral Fuels.

Following the visit of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet to Thailand last month, Bangkok and Phnom Penh agreed to resume talks on the OCA, which have made no progress since the issue was raised in 2001.

If the talks prove successful, Thailand and Cambodia will have a new petroleum source that could jointly generate huge economic value, said Mr Nipatsin.

"If natural gas is discovered, both countries can add value to it," he said.

Thailand has petroleum-related industries that can support new petroleum businesses, said Mr Nipatsin.

The FTI industry club has 30 members that are ready to help the government support the economy, he said.

The oil and gas industry is estimated to generate 200 billion baht in economic value for Thailand.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin earlier promised to uncover "treasure" from the OCA, as it is believed to have rich fossil fuel deposits, in an effort to help control electricity prices as the country moves towards green energy.

Mr Srettha said he believes gas is an appropriate energy resource for Thailand as it shifts from brown energy, which is derived from fossil fuels, to green energy, especially renewable energy.

Gas accounts for 60% of the fuels used for power generation in Thailand.

If the OCA can supply more gas to Thailand, the country will depend less on costly imported liquefied natural gas, said Mr Nipatsin.

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