Thailand’s rocketing gas consumption has reached 4,800 million cu ft/day, leading the country to look for new fields of exploration and new foreign suppliers. Thailand has acquired exploration rights for two projects in oil fields that are partially shared with its eastern neighbour, which is believed to have hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in its vast undersea reserves.
However, boundary disputes have delayed drilling in one field, although talks are reportedly underway to resolve the disagreement and free up access to millions more barrels. Thailand needs to urgently negotiate with Cambodia to exploit oil and gas reserves affected by the disputed maritime boundary, or overlapping claims area (OCA), given its increasing domestic energy consumption, according to a senior Energy Ministry official.
Asia is one of the more interesting gas markets in the world. Places like Thailand and its southeast Asian neighbors have seen phenomenal demand growth over the last several years. Songpope Polachan, director general of the Mineral Fuels Department, said natural gas in the Gulf of Thailand will be exhausted in the next five years and additional supply is necessary to cope with the rocketing consumption.
The Foreign Ministry is duty-bound to negotiate with Cambodia on the OCA, covering 26,000 sq km, to launch exploration and production of natural gas in the area for the benefit of both countries, he said.
He said Thailand’s production of natural gas has reached its peak of 3,600-3,800 million cu ft/day while the total domestic demand is 4,800 million cu ft/day.
The Mineral Fuels Department predicted that Thailand will be able to maintain the highest production level for the next five years, he said, adding that the department looks forward to extending the highest production level to 10 years by investing in exploration of smaller-scale gas reserve sites.
Production will be reduced to 1,000 million cu ft/day in the next 20-30 years, he said.
Mr Songpope insisted that the OCA negotiation is unrelated to the Thai-Cambodian dispute on Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple which is pending a ruling of the International Court of Justice.
If an agreement is reached, it will take at least 10 years before natural gas can be supplied, he said, adding that Thailand’s demand for natural gas has increased at least 5 per cent each year, mainly for electricity generating (62.6 per cent), industrial consumption (17.7 per cent), vehicles (5.2 per cent) and gas separation plants (13.9 per cent).
The Energy Ministry, he added, is negotiating for gas reserves from neighbouring countries including Myanmar.
Thailand also inked a long term contract with Qatar: Qatargas 3 will deliver two million tonnes per annum (MTA) of LNG for a period of 20 years beginning from 2015. The agreement marks PTT’s first long-term LNG SPA.
Royal Dutch Shell is looking to expand its business in Thailand to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and tap strong gas demand in the local market, says new country chairman Asada Harinsuit. Mr Asada noted that gas demand has skyrocketed here because gas is cleaner and cost-competitive.
“Thailand’s power demand will double in the next decade and concerns about climate change have been growing, making gas a more promising choice for the country,” he said.
Mr Asada, also global vice-president in specialties of Royal Dutch Shell, succeeded Pissawan Achanapornkul as head of Shell’s operation in Thailand since the beginning of this month. Mrs Pissawan was assigned to a new post in Britain. The company is celebrating 120 years in Thailand.
“The government policy for allowing the private sector to invest in LNG-related businesses in Thailand will determine greater use of gas,” Mr Asada said. But so far, only energy flagship PTT Plc has played a major role in gas trading.
A 20 years deal with Qatar to supply LNG for PTT
Qatargas Operating Company Limited (Qatargas) announced the signing of a long-term LNG Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) between Qatar Liquefied Gas Company Limited 3 (Qatargas 3) and PTT Public Company Limited of Thailand.
The agreement was signed by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of the Board of Qatargas and Mr. Pailin Chuchottaworn, Chief Executive Officer and President of PTT.
Under the terms of the agreement, Qatargas 3 will deliver two million tonnes per annum (MTA) of LNG for a period of 20 years beginning from 2015. The agreement marks PTT’s first long-term LNG SPA.
Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point.
As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.
In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?
PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
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