Natural gas consumption in May hits record high due to high oil prices


BANGKOK, May 31 – Thailand’s natural gas use in May hit a record high for the past 30 years at 4.5-4.6 billion cubic feet per day, higher than the 4.1 billion cubic feet per day on average in 2010, according to Kurujit Nakornthap, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Energy.

The increased consumption was caused by many factors including high use of Natural Gas for Vehicles (NGTV) at 6,000 tonnes per day owing to high oil prices.

Moreover, he said electricity consumption has risen, so the Energy Ministry has sought to find more natural gas for future use because if the economy continues to grow, there will be even higher energy demand.

Natural gas is also needed for power generation as Thailand has postponed its nuclear power plant plans for another three years from its original plan to achieve nuclear power generation in 2020.

Mr Kurujit said natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Thailand and in the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA) is around 23 trillion cubic feet.

If natural gas use remains at around 4.5 billion cubic feet per day or some1.25 trillion cubic feet per year, natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Thailand will be exhausted in the next 18 years.

If the demand for natural gas rises to five billion cubic feet per day or 1.55 trillion cubic feet per year, natural gas in the Gulf of Thailand will be gone in 15 years.

PTT Pcl , Thailand’s biggest energy company, has speeded up its purchases of natural gas from neighbouring countries and to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). However, more dependency on natural gas is worrisome, the deputy permanent secretary said.

Speaking about the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022, he said each country has its own policy. China plans to build another 20 nuclear power plants to reduce power generation cost and greenhouse gas emissions as China with its 1.3 billion population has high electricity demand.

Thailand’s plan to build nuclear power plant is being studied, and problems to be encountered and public acceptance concerns must be considered.

Thailand must find fuel sources such as natural gas or coal to generate its baseload power instead of nuclear.  Wind and solar power cannot be substitute fuels for baseload power generation, Mr Kurujit added.  (MCOT online news)