Looming gas-supply shutdown
Egat, IEAT working on damage controls
Plan being drawn up; estates to be notified two weeks in advance
The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand is working with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to draw up a plan to minimise disruption to industrial estates in Ayutthaya, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao from the temporary cut-off of gas supplies from Myanmar in April.
"We should inform them in two weeks to give them time for adjustment," IEAT governor Verapong Chaiperm said yesterday.
Deputy governor Jakkarat Lertopas said Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani were supplied by the Wang Noi Power Plant, which depends on natural gas from Myanmar.
The Eastern region could also feel the effect, especially Chachoengsao and Chon Buri, but the Map Ta Phut complex will likely not suffer any shortages as many companies have their own power plants.
Once the state agency gets the information from Egat, it will alert the businesses in these industrial zones so that they can make preparations.
Woravuth Anurakwongsri, general manager of Bang Pa-in Land Development, the operator of Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate, said both Egat and the IEAT had yet to tell the company whether there would be a power problem in Ayutthaya.
If there will be a problem, the manufacturers will have to change their work hours.
If there will be insufficient power, factories will have to stop operating, as a brownout could damage machines, especially sophisticated equipment like the ones producing electronic components. The state agencies should advise businesses on what to do by mid-March so they have time to prepare for the situation and build up their inventories, Woravuth said.
Recently the government reassured the public that it had measures to tackle the expected power crunch in April, when gas deliveries from Myanmar will be interrupted because of maintenance of the Yadana gas field pipeline from April 5-14.
However, Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal has warned people not to panic and hoard liquefied petroleum gas, saying the country had adequate reserves of that fuel. Thailand would definitely not experience any LPG shortfall, as gas-separation plants could continue to run as usual.
The Energy Business Department will keep monitoring gas-tank filling plants, retailers and LPG stations to prevent any hoarding. Thailand also has plenty of natural gas for vehicles and the shutdown of Yadana will only affect the electricity system, he said.
The situation is being mitigated thanks to cooperation from industrial companies to revise their production processes to save energy.
In the long run the ministry will try to diversify energy sources to reduce the country's heavy reliance on natural gas, which fuels 70 per cent of electricity generation, Pongsak said. The ministry will focus on promoting biogas, coal and hydropower. This plan will need five years for fruition, he said.