Thai Ministry: Strong Interest in 20th Petroleum Round

BANGKOK Jul 17, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Some 28 companies have already submitted 41 bids to explore 21 onshore and offshore petroleum blocks available under Thailand's 20th petroleum concession bidding round, the Department of Mineral Fuels said Tuesday.

Among the bidders are Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production PCL (PTTEP.TH) and the Thai units of Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Total S.A. (12027.FR)

"We have received overwhelming interest from petroleum exploration companies, thanks to supportive oil prices," said Krairit Nilkuha, director-general of the Department of Mineral Fuels.

Companies have until next May to submit bids for the 56 onshore blocks and 9 offshore blocks in the Gulf of Thailand, which together cover an area of 235,606 square kilometers.

Thailand is seeking new petroleum resources to meet higher demand in the future.

A consortium of Chevron Petroleum (Thailand), Japan's Mitsui Oil Exploration Ltd. and PTTEP Thai Project have submitted a bid to explore two blocks in the Gulf of Thailand.

Others bidding for Gulf of Thailand blocks are Chevron Petroleum (Thailand) with Mitsui Oil Exploration, and PTTEP Thai Project in conjunction with the Thai units of British Gas and Total.

TPI Polene Power Ltd., a unit of cement maker TPI Polene PCL (TPIPL.TH), has submitted four bids to explore onshore blocks in northeastern provinces.

Krairit said the Petroleum Committee will consider the qualifications of the current bidders and their proposed benefits to the government.

Preferred bidders will be selected in one to two months, and individual concessions can be awarded prior to the end of the concession period subject to approval by the Ministry of Energy and the cabinet.

However, other interested parties still have one year to submit applications in this concession bidding round. The parties can submit bids on the 15th of every month until the end of the bidding period on May 22, 2008.

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