Nine Groups of Cos Submit Bids for 11 Thai Oil & Gas Blocks

BANGKOK, Aug 16, 2005 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

Nine groups of companies have submitted bids for 11 oil and gas blocks in Thailand, in the country's latest petroleum concession bidding round, a senior official at the Ministry of Energy said Tuesday.

The Thai government is offering a total of 82 offshore and onshore blocks spanning 440,704 square kilometers across Thailand and its offshore areas. It expects to attract numerous bidders, given the potential for oil and gas discoveries in many blocks, said Krairit Nilkuha, deputy director-general at the Department of Mineral Fuels.

More companies are expected to submit bids before the June 30 deadline next year.

The nine consortia, the first group of companies to submit bids in the latest round, are bidding for five onshore blocks and six offshore blocks in the Gulf of Thailand.

Bidders for the five onshore blocks are PTTEP Siam, for Block L21/48, L28/48 and L29/48; Apico LLC for Block L13/48; and JSX Energy (Thailand) for Block 17/48.

For the six offshore blocks, Unocal Andaman is bidding for Block G4/48; Unocal Andaman and PTTEP Siam for Block G9/48; PTTEP Siam for Block G11/48; Thai Energy, Total E&P and PTTEP Siam for Block G12/48; and Occidential and Exploration and Borcos for Block G1/48 and Block G10/48.

A consortium of Pearl Oil (Thailand), Horizon Oil (Thailand) and Thana Oil & Gas (Thailand) is also bidding on blocks G10/48 and G11/48.

Krairit said a committee will study the qualifications of the bidders and their proposed benefits to the government before submitting the proposals to the Petroleum Committee, which will choose the preferred bidders. This process will take about one or two months, he said.

The group of preferred bidders is subject to approval from the Ministry of Energy and the cabinet.

Krairit said the entire process, from the preliminary consideration to final approval from the cabinet, will likely take around three to four months.

The department has given other interested parties one year to submit their applications in this concession bidding round. The parties can submit bids on the 15th of every month until the end of the bidding period, at the end of June 2006. In the next round of bidding, bidders are not allowed to bid on blocks already under contention.

The winning bidders will be given a nine-year exploration concession. If petroleum is discovered, the companies will apply for production rights, which are valid for 20-30 years.

Companies are charged a royalty rate of 5% to 15% depending on production rates, while 50% of their net profit will be paid as petroleum income tax.

Copyright (c) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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