By THE NATION
The state energy giant also expects to see the results of its bid for petroleum fields in the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia early next year.
Phongsthorn Thavisin, chief executive officer of PTTEP, said that the company has readjusted its proactive investment strategy for next year, planning to invest and explore in nine petroleum fields. Most of these fields are in Malaysia and Myanmar. As a result of this investment strategy, it expects its unit cost to increase to $31-$32 per barrel from this year's $30 per barrel. This year, PTTEP explored only one field.
The company forecasts next year's Dubai crude price at US$70 per barrel on average, an appropriate price for both producers and consumers, it said.
The target for petroleum sales for next year is about 320,000 barrels per day, up from this year's target of 310,000 barrels, as PTTEP will fully realise sales from output from the Bongkot field for the whole of 2019. This will be due to the company having increasing its stake in the field to 66.66 per cent and raising its production capacity by 10 per cent to 30,000 barrels per day in the Sirikit oil field S1 project next year. This year's production capacity for the Sirikit oil field S1 project is about 27,000 barrels per day.
The company expects to know the result of the bids for petroleum exploration and production rights in UAE and Malaysia in early 2019, while seeking an opportunity for mergers and acquisitions in ongoing petroleum fields in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
In Thailand, the company expressed confidence that it will win auctions for the Bongkot and Erawan concessions. Currently, Chevron operates the Erawan gas block and PTTEP operates the Bongkot concession, which will expire in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Phongsthorn said that next year the company will have to make a final investment decision for four fields: the Mozambique Rovuma Offshore Area 1 expected in mid-2019, the Southwest Vietnam Block B & 48/95 and Block 52/97 project, the Algeria Hassi Bir Rekaiz project and the Ubon field under the Contract 4 project.
“Now, PTTEP is reviewing its five-year investment plan (2019-23) and expects a clearer investment plan in January 2019," Phongsthorn said.
He said that the company is revising its operating plan for the Mariana Oil Sands project in Canada to cope with the current situation of high costs; it is considering a sale. The company is also finalising a preliminary engineering study for the Cash Maple gas field in Australia and is studying the proper direction for the project development.
PTTEP is considering selling the project or finding a partner for investment. Based on experience, operating in Australia is not easy, Phongsthorn said.