Thailand's PTTEP to bid for Iranian E&D projects

PTT Exploration & Production PLC (PTTEP) is seeking to establish an oil exploration venture in Iran, part of a strategy to expand into the upstream petroleum sector overseas. PTTEP Pres. Kwangsukstith Chitrapongse says Iranian authorities are prepared to extend the bid deadline in the current licensing round to accommodate PTTEP's participation.


BANGKOK�PTT Exploration & Production PLC (PTTEP) is seeking to establish an oil exploration venture in Iran, part of a strategy to expand into the upstream petroleum sector overseas. PTTEP, majority owned by state firm Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT), is finalizing a plan to bid for a number of onshore oil prospecting blocks in western Iran.

A PTTEP delegation led by Pres. Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith was recently in Tehran to register PTTEP's interest in participating in the new licensing round and discuss PTTEP's participation in the Iranian upstream industry. Chitrapongse said PTTEP is "seriously" pursuing oil exploration ventures in the state, which offers low risks and good hydrocarbon prospects.

He said Iran is one of the top-priority countries for PTTEP in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where the firm is seeking upstream interests. He added that Southeast Asia seems less attractive than Iran, as most of the good prospects there have been taken by international firms.

Over the next 5 years, PTTEP plans an investment of over 20 billion baht ($526 million) for E&P ventures both in Thailand and overseas. Much of PTTEP's petroleum portfolio is in Thailand.

PTTEP will spend the next few months preparing a proposal for bidding for the Iranian blocks. Chitrapongse says Iranian authorities are prepared to extend the bid deadline in the current licensing round to accommodate PTTEP's participation.

For the time being, PTTEP intends to go it alone in the bidding for the western Iranian acreage where it seeks to operate. However, it is exploring the possibility of joining other international oil companies that are already bidding for tracts in Iran's recent round of licensing.

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