Ministry aims to attract bidders for oil exploration
Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal has ordered the Department of Mineral Fuels to review the plan to open bidding |for the 21st round of petroleum exploration concessions to make it much more attractive to potential bidders.He told the department to |examine the outcomes of the 18th, 19th and 20th rounds to see how many bid winners were successful with their exploration and went on to commercial production, and how many failed to do so.
The planned 21st round covers fields that already have conces-|sions in effect. Therefore, the department has to make this round much more attractive to potential bidders. It also has to create understanding with the communities near the fields before granting the concessions.
The 21st round encompasses 22 fields, of which 17 are onshore and five are offshore. Of the onshore fields, 11 are in the Northeast and six are in the Central region.
Pongsak said he would propose an amendment of the petroleum law to allow one more extension of the current concession terms. The existing law permits only one renewal of a concession.
The term of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production's |concession in Erawan field and |that of PTT Exploration and Production in Bongkot field, originally to expire last year, were extended to 2017 by the Energy Ministry in 2011.
Pongsak believes the state will benefit if extensions can be granted to the existing concession holders as new holders would have to spend heavily on installing facilities in the fields. However, the existing concessionaires would have to renegotiate revenue sharing with the government if their terms are to be extended a second time.