Bidding for energy exploration concessions to be postponed

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BANGKOK, Feb 16  Submission of bid applications for the 21st round of Thailand’s oil and gas exploration concessions, scheduled earlier for this Wednesday, might have to be postponed, according to Puangthip Silpasart, Director-General of the Energy Ministry’s Mineral Fuels Department. 

Ms Puangthip said it is expected that a meeting of National Energy Policy Committee, scheduled for today with Prime Minister Gen.Prayut Chan-o-cha presiding would discuss postponing bid applications.

She said Thailand’s energy security would not be impacted even if bidding is postponed for one or two months.

The possible postponement would be in line with a public referendum due to be held Friday, to be telecast live. Ms Puangthip said the ministry has been listening to opposition to the programme aired by civic groups.

The government has reserved the right not to grant concessions if it finds that returns to the state are not fair, she said.

To be fair the government should receive “not less than 70 per cent while the successful concessionaires receive not more than 30 per cent.”

Reiterating that bidding  for oil and gas exploration concessions is still necessary because national reserves for energy would “dry up in the next seven years,” Ms Puangthip said that the country needs to have clear information on petroleum.

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