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PTT eyes 15% stake in field near Burma

Yuthana Praiwan
From Bangkok Post, Thailand
August 22, 2005
link to this article.

PTT Plc [Petroleum Authority of Thailand] is seeking a 15% stake in a Burmese offshore petroleum field where exploration is near completion, says Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith, the company's senior executive vice-president for gas business.

Work in the A1 field, located in the Bay of Bengal, is currently being undertaken by the Daewoo Group of South Korea.

Huge gas reserves were discovered in the field and the output will be piped into Thailand once a deal with PTT is reached and the development stage has begun, Mr Chitrapongse said.

In exchange for the gas purchases, PTT wants to obtain at least a 15% stake in the operation of the field.

To facilitate gas transport, a 1,000-kilometre undersea pipeline will be constructed from the field to connect with Yadana and Yetagun, two offshore gas fields in the Andaman Sea.

"Whether the gas [from A1] will be economically viable depends on the price of the commodity," Mr Chitrapongse said.

Gas piped from the field to Thailand will help meet help demand after 2011, coinciding with PTT's plan to import liquefied natural gas from Iran and Australia.

PTT Exploration and Production Plc, PTT's exploration arm, is looking for petroleum in the M-11 block, located near Burma in the Gulf of Martaban and covering 7,200 square kilometres. It is PTTEP's third venture in Burma. The other two are the Yadana and Yetagun fields where it holds 25.5% and 19.3% respectively.

In another development, Mr Chitrapongse said PTT might seek new banks to replace the Government Savings Bank in its campaign to promote the use of natural gas for vehicles.

PTT signed an agreement with the GSB last month for the bank to lend money to drivers converting engines to run on natural gas. But Mr Chitrapongse said the bank was too slow in approving credit and its conditions were too stringent.

To date, only about 300 private vehicles have been converted, against target of 5,000 set for next month.

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