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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        1  June  2011

Thai gas to run out in 18 years

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Thailand must diversify the fuel it uses to generate electricity, or else domestic gas resources could dry up in about two decades, warns deputy energy permanent secretary Kurujit Nakornthap.

"If the country continues pumping gas from the Gulf of Thailand at the present rate of 3,747 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) or 1.37 trillion cubic feet per year, the gas there may be depleted in 18 years," he told a seminar in Bangkok yesterday.

Gas supplied from the gulf represents up to 80 percent of domestic consumption, with the rest supplied from Myanmar, said Mr. Kurujit.

Proved and probable domestic gas reserves are now estimated at 29.9 trillion cubic feet, good for less than 22 years if no new resources are found.

Natural gas now accounts for 72 percent of the fuel used in domestic electricity production, with coal at only 19 percent.

Thailand has failed for decades to switch to more coal use, while nuclear power has become less of an option due to strong opposition in the wake of the Japanese disaster, said Mr Kurujit. This means gas will only become more important in power generation.

Mr. Kurujit said May gas consumption was the highest ever at 4,600 mmscfd from 4,100 mmscfd in the same period last year.

The sharp increase was driven by compressed natural gas (CNG) use in the transport sector surging by a third year-on-year to 6,000 tonnes a day.

Motorists have been shifting away from expensive petrol to CNG, whose price is subsidised by the government.

Demand from the new gas separation plant of PTT Plc also drove demand.

"This situation is very scary, as we depend too much on gas. What will the power sector do if some sort of accident were to cause a major disruption in the gas transport system?" said Mr Kurujit.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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