Thailand pipeline removes natural gas bottleneck

BANGKOK-- Thailand has begun operation of a west-east onshore pipeline that removes the bottleneck in the flow of natural gas from Burma's Gulf of Martaban.

Completion of the 154 km, 30-in. Ratchaburi-Wang Noi pipeline enabled the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) to increase its reception of gas from the offshore Yadana and Yetagun fields to nearly 800 MMcfd.

About 280 MMcfd of the Burmese gas is being delivered through the $247.9 million line to the 2,000-Mw Wang Noi combined cycle complex, one of the country's largest power generators. The new line was linked to PTT's Burmese gas transmission system from the Thai border province of Kanchanaburi to Ratchaburi, a distance of 260 km.

Saipem Asia Sdn. Bhd/Mitsui & Co, an Italian and Japanese consortium, built the 300 MMcfgd Ratchaburi-Wang Noi pipeline, which can be expanded to 500 MMcfd.

About 500 MMcfd of Burmese gas goes to the Ratchaburi generating station owned by the government and Tri Energy Ltd's 700-Mw combined cycle plant in the same province.

Over the past 2 years PTT's offtake of Burmese gas fell far below the contractual rates, 525 MMcfd from Yadana and 200 MMcfd from Yetagun, due to the delay in the construction of Ratchaburi power plant (with the ultimate capacity of 3,645 Mw.

The Thai state energy firm's purchase of Burmese gas averaged 18,600 boed in the first 9 months of this year. Most of the gas was from Yadana.

PTT said its take of Burmese will grow to 900 MMcfd in 2001 to feed the three power stations.

The increased takes will help PTT's negotiations with gas producers on changes to their long-term gas supply contracts. (OGJ Online, Aug 24, 2000).

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