Thailand hungry for more Burmese gas

Thailand’s state-owned energy company PTT PCL will on Friday sign a deal to purchase gas from Burma’s offshore Zawtika gas field, with supplies due to go online in 2013.

The deal will be signed between executives of PTT PCL, PTTEP International (the international exploration wing of the PTT group) and representatives from the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

PTTEP holds a 100 percent stake in the M9 block in the Gulf of Martaban, 300 kilometres south of Rangoon, but will send 240 million cubic feet a day to Thailand and a further 60 million cubic feet will be utilised within Burma, Reuters said.

Wong Aung from the Thailand-based Shwe Gas Movement (SGM) campaigning group, estimated that the deal would net MOGE and the Burmese junta around US$15 billion over its 30-year lifespan, given the volume of imports.

The deal appears to be a good one for Thailand. The Bangkok Post today quoted Thailand’s Energy Minister Wannarat Channukul as saying that the deal will save Thailand 2.4 billion litres a year of ‘bunker’ oil, in turn saving the country 400 billion baht (US$12.4 million). The environmental savings would no doubt be greater still, in terms of air quality and emissions of carbon dioxide.

The deal will add to Thailand’s existing Yadana and Yetagun gas field imports from Burma, which total around 950 million cubic feet. As part of the deal, the trans-ASEAN gas pipeline will be extended from 2,800km to 3,020km.

Total exports from Burma will rise to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day, taking the proportion of Thailand’s energy needs being met by Burma to above 30 percent.

The Thailand deal comes on top of a deal signed by MOGE last month with North Petro-Chem Corporation Limited (NPCC) of China to explore the PSC-F block (Ngahlaingdwin area) for oil and gas.

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