Chevron to expedite Platong Gas II project in Thailand

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 21 -- To meet Thailand’s rapidly growing demand for natural gas, Chevron Corp. hopes to begin production at the $3.1-billion Platong Gas II project in the Gulf of Thailand later this year.

“With gas demand in Thailand growing by 13% in 2010, we are working to accelerate Platong II's progress towards first gas,” said Jim Blackwell, president, Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration & Production Co.

“The need to accelerate is very much understood,” said Joe Geagea, managing director of Chevron Asia South, who joined Blackwell and other officials at a “sail away” ceremony for Platong II’s central processing platform.

“This is something that is very much needed for the economy,” said Geagea, adding, “We’re getting close to putting this on a big barge and…getting it online as soon as we can.”

Built by McDermott International, the platform will increase Thailand’s gas production more than 10% from its current 2.89 bcfd.

Analyst IHS Global Insight noted Chevron in March 2008 approved the launch of construction for the Platong II project, which it said would be completed by this year’s first quarter.

Last April Chevron announced the project was 49% complete, but its launch date had been revised to 2012.

“The cause of the project schedule revision is unclear but could potentially have been caused by uncertainties about Thailand's gas demand in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis,” IHS Global Insight said.

Meanwhile, Chevron last month said its gas sales to PTTEP PCL for 2010 were 20% higher than contracted as solid economic growth generated stronger demand, particularly from the electricity and industrial sectors.

Chevron Thailand Exploration Pres. Pairoj Kaweeyanun said PTT last year took average gas delivery of 1.5 bscfd from Chevron, compared with 1.24 bscfd stated in its contract.

Kaweeyanun said Thailand's gas demand will likely rise 12% to 4.5 bcfd this year, and 3-5% next year.

Chevron is operator of Platong Gas II with a 69.8% stake while Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. Ltd. holds 27.4% and PTT EP has 2.8%.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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