Royal Dutch Shell’s Thai unit is seeking greater opportunities in liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet rising domestic demand.
Pissawan Achanapornkul, chairwoman of The Shell Company of Thailand Ltd, said her firm is keen to jump into the fray in the lucrative LNG business, be it in trading, regasification or retail compressed natural gas (CNG).
“Thailand will maintain its strong demand for natural gas in the coming years,” she said.
“Gas will play a significant role in not only electricity generation but also the transport sector.”
Pissawan said Shell has strength in the gas business from upstream to downstream, with technology, capital, management and human resources all set to support the Thai operation in this endeavour.
But she said Thailand’s gas liberalisation policy requires further scrutiny, as several businesses in this sector remain monopolies.
“We’re ready to jump on the bandwagon if the market is liberalised,” said Pissawan.
“In this region, we’ve already started LNG trading with Japan.”
She said regional LNG demand is poised to grow rapidly as an alternative clean energy.
For the upstream LNG segment, Shell operates major production bases on Russia’s Sakhalin island and in Qatar.
Downstream, the company operates CNG pumps in Pakistan.
“If Shell is to fully enter the retail CNG business here, then we must be assured of CNG quality and an uninterrupted, abundant supply,” she said.
A recent Mineral Fuels Department report showed gas demand in Thailand rising to nearly 7 billion cubic feet per day in 2030 from 4.2 billion cfpd on average now.
Local gas production from on- and offshore petroleum fields is expected to peak at 3.6 billion cfpd in 2015 from 3.3 billion cfpd at present.
Thailand’s LNG business is partly liberalised, with PTT Plc largely controls the gas pipeline and receiving terminal.
PTT is developing a second LNG receiving terminal with annual capacity of 5 million tonnes, located outside Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.
The new terminal will help to triple PTT’s daily LNG capacity to 15 million tonnes after 2020.
PTT debuted the first phase of the $900 million LNG receiving terminal in the Map Ta Phut area last year, with annual capacity of 5 million tonnes.
The 25 billion-baht second phase is now being prepared and will add another 5 million tonnes a year.
Construction of the second phase will likely kick off this year.
When completed, annual capacity will be doubled to 10 million tonnes or 1.4 billion cfpd.