March 24, 2014 00:00 By Watcharapong Thongrung
The Mineral Fuels Department plans to finish revising the petroleum law within two years so that concession holders can prepare for after their concession expires.
Songpope Polachan, director-general of the department, said last week that the law needs to be updated to fit the present situation, which includes the end of Chevron Exploration and Production Co’s concession for the Gulf of Thailand in eight years.
Chevron’s Erawan field concession originally only ran till 2012, but in 2011 it was extended to 2022 by the Energy Ministry. Under the law they can renew their concessions only once.
Chevron Thailand produces 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 40,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
The department has to consider if it can extend Chevron’s concession again or has to call for new bidding. By law, the fields of expired concessions will return to the state.
Chevron had intended to build a sea port and operation centre in Nakhon Si Thammarat five years ago to support its activities in the Gulf of Thailand.
The company conducted environmental and health impact assessments, which were approved by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning.
However, in 2012 the company decided to cancel the plan due to low commercial viability. It felt uncertain if its concession would be extended after it invests in the project, he added.