Call to ban drilling for oil near Samui, Pha Ngan
A network of environmentalists and academics demanded yesterday that the government abandon any exploration for oil and gas off the resort islands of Samui, Pha Ngan and Tao."We do not agree with such a plan. We will escalate our movement if the government doesn't listen to us," said Banjong Nasae, chairman of the Thai Sea Watch Association, which includes the Prince of Songkla University's Surat Thani Campus and several non-government organisations.
The Energy Ministry is reportedly preparing to allow three firms, including PTTEP and CEC, to explore for and produce petroleum near the islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
However, their operation would upset the spawning of short-bodied mackerel as well as hurt tourism in the area, the network has claimed.
The public should not be tame or fooled by politicians' and capitalists' warnings that the country was at risk of blackouts due to imported fuel shortages, the network has said.
Thailand has the highest petrol prices in Southeast Asia and ranks low in income derived from its petroleum concessions, it said.
"We are not against petroleum production but believe a petroleum concession must be well worth it in all respects. Associated operations should also have good environmental management," it said.
The government should review projects that may endanger the ecological system in the Gulf, it said.