From January 1 onwards, fuel stations nationwide will stop selling 91-octane petrol, which will force owners of 500,000 vehicles and 500,000 motorcycles either to retrofit their engines or switch to 95-octane petrol.
Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon said yesterday that the decision would boost gasohol sales by 8 million litres a day, prompting demand for 800,000 litres more ethanol per day. This is in line with the government’s policy to rely more on locally sourced energy and boost farmers’ income.
Oil retailers and ethanol producers are ready for the policy. Thailand’s 20 ethanol plants, with sugar cane and cassava as raw materials, have combined capacity of 3.27 million litres, but domestic demand is only 1.3 million litres.
"In the future, this can pave way for ethanol exports, thanks to increasing demand for alternative fuel in light of higher oil prices," Arak said.
Sale of 91-octane petrol was originally set to end on October 1. The three-month extension is to give retailers time to adjust.
Meanwhile, the National Energy Policy Council (NEPC), chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, yesterday endorsed PTT’s Bt21.4-billion investment in the second-phase LNG receiving terminal. The investment will increase PTT’s storage capacity from 5 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas.
PTT also won the NEPC’s approval for the annual sourcing of 2 million tonnes of LNG from Qatar Liquefied Gas Co under a 20-year contract, starting next year.
This is part of the long-term gas-sourcing plan (2012-20), designed to cope with higher gas consumption in the electricity-generating industry and others.
According to Suthep Liamsiricharoen, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, Thailand’s natural-gas demand is expected to rise from 4,167 million cubic feet per day in 2011 to 5,331mcfpd by 2016 and 6,999mcfpd by 2020.