Thailand to open licensing round

Thailand has resolved to take advantage of high oil and gas prices by launching a new licensing round for petroleum prospecting rights on 88 tracts covering 450,000 sq km. Earlier this week, the Thai cabinet endorsed the plan of Industry Ministry to call the round, timed at luring international hydrocarbon prospectors in the wake of rising world oil prices.


BANGKOK�Thailand has resolved to take advantage of high oil and gas prices by launching a new licensing round for petroleum prospecting rights on 88 tracts covering 450,000 sq km. Earlier this week, the Thai cabinet endorsed the plan of Industry Ministry to call the round, timed to lure international hydrocarbon prospectors at a time of high world oil prices.

Increasing oil prices are perceived by Thai resources officials to make prospecting in the country, which offers moderate discovery potential and production, more interesting.

International industry's interest in the kingdom's exploration and production activities has been limited in the past, especially during the past few years of low oil prices and a stagnant Thai economy caused by the 1997 regional economic meltdown.

According to Industry Minister Suwat Liptapallop, 75 of the blocks on offer are onshore, 9 are in the Gulf of Thailand, and 4 are in Andaman.

It is yet to be seen how foreign firms will react to the new Thai licensing round. A standard royalty fee of 15% will be levied on production, and 50% income tax is imposed.

The Gulf of Thailand has so far offered the most potential in terms of natural gas. The kingdom offers less potential for sizable oil prospects.

Thailand's combined domestic petroleum production in the first 4 months of this year rose 16% to 423,000 boe/d, according to the Petroleum Authority of Thailand.

More in Exploration & Development