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Proposed cut of govt stake in PTT

Dec 29. 2011
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By Watcharapong Thongrung

The

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Reducing the Finance Ministry's stake in PTT to less than 50 per cent could have disadvantages as well as benefits, Energy Ministry Pichai Naripthaphan said yesterday.

The idea was floated that the ministry would transfer some of its PTT shares to the Vayupak Fund, which already holds 15 per cent of the energy giant, he said. The move was one way to lower the state debt ceiling and give PTT more flexibility to run its business.

But the downside is that if PTT is no longer considered a state enterprise after the ministry’s stake drops below 50 per cent, the government could face public criticism if it orders it to invest in any project.

Pichai will visit Cambodia today with Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul to talk about overlapping marine territory as well as overlapping petroleum claims in the Gulf of Thailand.

For the country’s national energy policy next year, the ministry will urgently promote the laying of a pipeline to deliver gas to the Northeast and North.

It will also explore more petroleum fields in Burma and Cambodia. The ministry has assigned PTT to study ways to invest more in this arena.

The ministry will also encourage the construction of more oil and gas depots in Thailand, especially in the Land Bridge area.

The ministry will press ahead with increases in the prices of natural gas for vehicles and liquefied petroleum gas despite the opposition from transport operators and taxi drivers.

The ministry has invited them to discuss the matter on January 12. Repeats a brief on same page

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