Diesel capped at Bt30 till May; govt beefs up oil reserves
The diesel price will be capped at Bt30 per litre until the end of May while households using less than 300 units (Bt1,200) per month will continue to get help with electricity bills, according to the government.
Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow confirmed on Friday that the diesel cap would remain despite soaring world energy prices since war broke out between Ukraine and Russia last month.
He said the oil fund could subsidise the Bt30 cap until the end of May if the price of crude oil does not exceed US$115 per barrel on average. Brent crude soared above $139 per barrel last Monday but had fallen below $113 as of Saturday (March 12).
The oil fund has taken a loan of Bt40 billion to extend the diesel subsidy until May-end. However, the National Energy Policy Committee lifted the oil fund’s loan limit on Wednesday amid pressure from soaring oil prices.
The government announced it will also raise Thailand’s crude oil reserve from 4 to 5 per cent and finished oil reserve from 1 to 2 per cent. Meanwhile it ordered Thai oil companies to extend the stockpiling of reserves from 60 to 70 days.
The Energy and Commerce ministries are also considering capping the price of B100 formula biodiesel and discussing measures to cut costs of benzene for 13.5 million welfare card holders.
The measures will focus on Thailand’s 21 million motorcycle users.
Supattanapong said the price of a 15-kilo cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will rise from to Bt333 from April 1. The price is currently fixed at Bt318.
The government would retain the Bt45 discount on cooking gas for welfare card holders and may even increase it to Bt100 from April, he added.
Meanwhile the electricity tariff of 16 satang per unit will rise from May, though the government maintain the subsidy for households that use less than 300 units or Bt1,200 per month.