Daily consumption of natural gas up 25% this year
The consumption of natural gas has increased to some 5 billion cubic feet per day from an average of about 4bcf/d last year, the Mineral Fuels Department said yesterday.Consumption grew by 10 per cent last year, which was higher than the normal annual average growth of between 5 and 6 per cent, because of the expansion of the industrial sector.
Of total present usage, 3.8bcf/d is locally produced natural gas and 1.2 billion is imported from Myanmar.
There is also daily consumption of 2 million tonnes of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The department is confident that the country can maintain local natural-gas production capacity at 3.8bcf/d for five years, and that it will double present LNG storage capacity to 10 million tonnes during the period.
It will also have the operators of local natural-gas fields run capacity at full stream to serve rising demand, said director-general Songpope Polachan.
Moreover, the department will demand more natural gas from other fields to offset the upcoming decline in the amount it receives from the Thailand-Malaysia Joint Development Area (JDA), as Malaysia wants to use an additional 300 million cubic feet per day.
The countries share the gas from the JDA on an equal basis, but in the past Thailand has used more of the field's output, so Malaysia is fully entitled to call for more gas, he said.
Power-generation plants account for 60 per cent of Thailand's natural-gas consumption, followed by the industrial sector at 21 per cent and the transport sector at 6 per cent.
If the country turned to promoting more use of coal and biogas in generating electricity, this would help reduce the demand for natural gas, he added.
Meanwhile, the department is reviewing the plan to open bidding for the 21st round of petroleum-exploration concessions to make it much more attractive to potential bidders. The review will be completed within six months, Songpope said.
Last week, Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal told the agency to examine the outcomes of the 18th, 19th and 20th rounds to see how many bid winners had been successful with their exploration and gone on to commercial production, and how many had failed to do so.
The planned 21st round covers fields that already have concessions in effect, which means the department has to make it considerably more attractive to potential bidders.
It must also create understanding with the communities near the fields before granting the concessions.
The 21st round encompasses 22 fields, of which 17 are onshore. Of the onshore fields, 11 are in the Northeast and six are in the Central region.