Thailand may suffer a shortage in liquefied natural gas (LNG) of 9 million tons by 2020-2021, due to uncertainty from future petroleum auctions, says a report in local newspaper The Nation.
In May, the Thai Energy Minister Anantaporn Kanjanarat said the government will offer two petroleum concessions for bidding, including Erawan and Bongkot gas fields in an auction that has not yet been scheduled.
Prasert Sinsukprasert, Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) deputy director-general, says the decision by the National Energy Policy Council to seek new operators for the gas fields after the concessions expire in 2022-2023 could jeopardise the country’s energy security.
“The worst case is that there is not enough gas for running power plants. (The country would) have to conserve power. (We) may have to ask shopping malls to reduce their electricity consumption, or use more severe measures”, he said.
“Right now, we are still not faced with such a problem, but there is risk if existing producers don’t get (the concessions)”, Prasert added.
Chevron is the current operator of the Erawan gas field, with Bongkot operator by PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP). Current output from the fields combined represents 44 percent of Thailand’s total gas production.
EPPO’s Prasert said that if new companies take over the two gas fields, Chevron and PTTEP may reduce investments before the end of their concessions, thereby reducing gas production.
Bidding is pending an amendment of Thailand’s energy law to include production sharing contract terms to exist concessions in which companies pay taxes and royalties.
Prasert said the Thai government is currently considering options to deal with a potential future gas shortage, including building a floating terminal to import more LNG, using other fuels to run power plants, and increasing renewable power production.