BANGKOK, Aug 23 – Protesters gathered in front of the PTT headquarters in Bangkok today, asking the Cabinet to annul its resolution on a price hike for household liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Demonstrators led by the Foundation for Consumers, the People’s Network and state enterprise labour unions opposed the LPG price rise, and their numbers today caused a heavy traffic jam on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
The Cabinet previously approved a price increase of 50 satang/month for one year from September, making the total increase Bt6.
The protesters said that although the government will subsidise small traders, other problems will still follow. They asked for a committee to be set up to monitor LPG cost of gas separation plants
PTT announced the cost of LPG at Bt16.50/kg. The demonstrators said that if there are five more gas separation plants, production costs could decline, and money collected for the oil fund should cease. Once the LPG fee is collected into the oil fund at the same rate as other industries at Bt12.55, the oil fund’s burden will end.
The protesters called for transparency and the cancellation of oil and gas exploration concessions and change it to a system of sharing produce from oil and gas. They seek an energy reform committee directly under the prime minister with over half representing the general public and academics so that just energy reform plans could result in an amended petroleum bill.
The Energy Ministry indicated that LPG prices should stay at Bt24.82/kg, but the demonstrators demanded it at Bt16-17/kg, 40 per cent less than LPG world prices.
The demonstrators said they would return September 1-2 once the LPG price hike takes effect.
Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry affirmed that the price adjustment September 1 will be subsidised at Bt18.13/kg so low-income earners will be less affected.