13 bidders to contest for energy exploration

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BANGKOK, Feb 14 – Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said 13 bidders, including a French firm, will contest in the 21st round of bidding on concessions for oil and gas exploration in Thailand.

His remarks were made following his talks with French ambassador to Thailand Thierry Viteau on Friday at Government House in which the latter had told him that France would “definitely” participate in the bidding and that French energy conglomerate Total Co Ltd would represent them in the bidding.

Bid applications would have to be submitted by February 18, said Mr Pridiyathorn, adding that the Energy Ministry is now amending the Petroleum Act in which the Thai government would switch to a production sharing system instead of concessions as being practiced now.

Academics and activist groups have called on the government to switch to the production sharing system, saying the current practice has put Thailand at a disadvantage.

Mr Pridiyathorn said Mr Viteau also told him the French government is also interested in a joint investment on a medium-speed dual rail track system which Thailand would co-invest in with the Chinese and Japanese governments.

Since the programme has achieved considerable progress, Mr Pridiyathorn said he suggested that France join in a joint investment in a new bus service in the capital.

Bidding for this programme would be held later.

On an idea of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to constructing high-speed trains running to popular resorts between Bangkok to Pattaya and Bangkok to Hua Hin, he said the idea should be considered by the next government.