By PICHAYA CHANGSORN
Saharath Boonpotipukdee, deputy governor for corporate social affairs at Egat, said yesterday that the state-owned power utility had finished the study. It found that it could meet the government’s objectives to help lower electricity costs and introduce competition in the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“One good aspect is that [Egat] can buy gas itself and the electricity tariff will be lowered, while also supporting the government’s policy to create competition and choices in the importing of LNG,” he said.
The NEPC meeting on May 30 resolved for Egat to proceed with its study on the FSRU project that will result in the break-up of PTT’s monopoly on LNG import and distribution.
The Energy Ministry has forecast LNG demand to rise from 5 million tonnes this year to 22 million tonnes per year by 2036, because of depleting domestic gas supplies.
At the Energy Symposium held by the Federation of Thai Industries, Saharath said the government did not want Egat to use the FSRU to supply gas only to its own power plants, but also to integrate its planned gas-pipeline system with PTT’s pipeline network.
To cope with the extra demand on the FSRU, the government assigned it to increase the FSRU’s capacity from 3 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes annually.
The government has already introduced third-party access, which lets other firms use PTT’s pipeline for supplying gas to end-users.
The study found the FSRU project could help bring down electricity costs, since Egat could bypass PTT to procure gas itself.
Saharath declined to disclose the investment budget for the 5-million-tonne FSRU, which would be floated off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand.
Egat earlier estimated a Bt30-billion budget for a 3-million-tonne FSRU.
The study suggests three locations for the FSRU, including one that is 20 kilometres offshore from the South Bangkok Power Plant in Samut Prakan, and another off the coast of Sri Racha.
He did not dismiss the chances of the private sector taking part in the FSRU project, but a joint venture would have to go through the public-private partnership process that usually takes at least one year.
The FSRU will supply gas to Egat’s South Bangkok Power Plant (Blocks 1-2) and North Bangkok Power Plant, as well as to PTT’s gas-pipeline grid.