Thailand Extends Bid Deadline For Energy Concessions Amid Criticism
BANGKOK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Thailand has extended the bid deadline for oil and gas concessions by a month after politicians and activists criticised the contract terms, the country's energy policy committee said on Monday.
Around 100 people gathered at government house in Bangkok to submit a petition calling for the suspension of the bidding round. They want the military government to ensure that Thailand gets a bigger cut of profits from the concessions.
Thailand's junta, which seized power in May, wants to boost domestic supplies to reduce the country's dependence on expensive energy imports.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters on Monday a delay was needed to build a broader consensus on the contract terms.
The bid deadline would be extended to Mar. 16 from Feb. 18, Kurujit Nakornthap, deputy permanent secretary of the energy ministry, told reporters.
The government will hold a public hearing on the concessions on Feb. 20, said Puangthip Silpasart, director general of the Energy Ministry's mineral fuels department.
Several senior politicians, including former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, as well as academics and activists, sent a letter to Prayuth last week calling for a review of the auction due to concerns about transparency and revenue.
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