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Energy permanent secretary Suthep Liumsirijaren said yesterday that after a year of postponements, oil traders are now required to increase their oil stocks from 36 days to 43 days from next Friday, and went on to say that all traders are ready to comply with the requirement that will cost them six satang more per liter.
The move is in line with a recommendation from the International Energy Agency last year that Thailand raise its oil reserves to as much as 90 days to strengthen energy security.
Mr. Suthep said “This is the first step and we hope to be able to reach 90 days in the future, this project will save on transport costs and minimizes the frequent accidents that happen with oil transport every year.
To secure more energy the ministry will instruct the Energy Business Department to study an extension of the existing oil pipeline to Lampang in the North and Khon Kaen in the Northeast at an estimated cost of 20 billion baht.
Energy minister Pongsak Raktapongaisal said his ministry has studied an oil land bridge stretching from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea. “We hope the project will facilitate the goal of having 90 days of oil stock, although it requires massive investment.”
The land bridge project was initiated in 1993 at a distance of 132 kilometers from Krabi to Surat Thani. The idea was revised in 2004 but then scrapped following the Tsunami.
Mr Suthep said his ministry also plans to enhance security in the power sector, as Thailand is expected to import 23 million tonnes annually of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2030 compared with 2 million tonnes this year. That same year, Thailand’s electricity capacity is projected to reach 55,000 megawatts, up from 33,000 MW this year, with LNG a major fuel.
The ministry is revising the power development plan to diversify Thailand’s sources of fuel including imports of hydropower from Laos and Myanmar as well as developing a local clean-coal power plant.
“We plan to reduce LNG imports because it will require a huge investment in related facilities such receiving terminals and fleets. This money should be allocated for developing other crucial infrastructure.”Said Mr. Suthep. Clean coal is cheaper and has a more secure supply than LNG, as most of the resources are in Asia-Pacific, he added