Thailand plans to kick off a new auction round next February for petroleum concessions on 29 onshore and offshore blocks in its effort to secure energy supplies, a senior energy ministry official says.
BANGKOK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Thailand plans to kick off a new auction round next February for petroleum concessions on 29 onshore and offshore blocks in its effort to secure energy supplies, a senior energy ministry official said on Wednesday.
The country, which uses natural gas to generate nearly 70 percent of its power, has been struggling to secure long-term supplies as growth in output and reserve replacement have not kept pace with demand.
The February auction round, the 21st, will be the first since 2007, with a domestic political crisis partly responsible for the interruption in auctions.
Interested investors must submit proposals by Feb. 18 next year, Kurujit Nakornthap, deputy permanent secretary of the energy ministry, said in a statement.
Of the 29 blocks up for auction, six are offshore, in the Gulf of Thailand, and 23 are onshore, mostly in the northeast. The statement did not say when the winners will be announced.
The blocks on offer will allow Thailand to tap an estimated volume of 1 to 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 20 to 50 million barrels of crude oil, the ministry said.
Thailand, a net importer of crude oil, produced 241,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and condensate and imported 868,000 barrels per day in 2013. It had daily natural gas supplies of 5,055 million cubic, a fifth of which were imported, official figures show.
Policymakers in the energy ministry are also considering whether to extend existing petroleum concession contracts due to expire in the next eight years. These include agreements held by Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production PCL and Chevron.
The military government, which has launched reforms to restructure domestic fuel prices to better reflect actual costs, plans to wrap up details of all energy prices by the end of this year, the ministry's permanent secretary, Areepong Bhoocha-oom, told reporters.
(Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong and Pracha Hariraksapitak; Editing by Alan Raybould)
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