By an OGJ correspondent
BANGKOK, Oct. 2 -- After more than 2 years' delay, Thailand's Ministry of Industry has finally agreed to award 7 exploration blocks to six firms including ChevronTexaco Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group.
The approval, pending formal endorsement from the Cabinet, follows protracted negotiations to amend the original terms proposed by some bidders, especially ChevronTexaco and Shell, in July 2000.
Chevron Offshore (Thailand), the local subsidiary of ChevronTexaco, agreed to provide an additional $1 million special bonus to the state and increase the production bonus to $1.5 million from $1 million proposed originally in return for the license on Block G4/43 in the Gulf of Thailand.
The US firm also offered PTT Exploration & Production PLC (PTTEP), the majority Thai state owned firm, an option to acquire a 30% stake in the block, up from 15% in its original proposal.
Thai Shell, a unit of Royal Dutch/Shell, increased its special bonus by $100,000 as a grant for the local petroleum industry. It offered PTTEP a 35% stake in the onshore Block L22/43, up from 25%.
The four other firms granted the licenses are China National Petroleum Co., Hong Kong, for onshore Block L21/43, Pacific Tiger Energy (Thailand) for onshore blocks L33/43 and L44/43, SVS Energy Resources for onshore Block L71/43, and Nucoastal Corp. for offshore Block G5/43.
The concessionaires will be required to spend more than $32 million exploring the tracts over the first 3-year obligation.
The licenses entitle the Thai government to about $2.6 million in the form of signature bonus and scholarship, in addition to bonus provision once commercial production were to start.