Thailand and fossil gas

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Energy Monitor coverage of fossil gas

Thailand has a population of 70.1 million as of 2022.[1] It is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia being the largest.[2] GDP growth was forecasted at 2.9% in 2022 and 4.2% in 2023.[3]

The increase in Thailand's GDP has corresponded to an increase in energy consumption.[4] The country has seen a steady growth in gas demand. Initially, this was met by domestic production, but by 1988, pipeline imports from Myanmar and, in 2011, LNG imports from various countries began.[5]

Fossil Gas in the Fuel Mix

Total gas consumption in Thailand was 47 bcm in 2021.[6]

The power sector is the key driver of gas demand in Thailand, accounting for 69% of total consumption in 2021.[7] The country generated 176.3 TWh of electricity in 2021, of which, 113.1 TWh was produced using gas, 36.1 TWh through coal, 21.9 TWh through renewables, and 4.5 TWh through hydropower resources.[6]

Approximately 21% of the gas is consumed by gas separation plants (GSPs), which separate the various hydrocarbon components of gas.[7]

The industrial sector, which includes chemicals/petrochemicals (which use gas as feedstock), non-metallic minerals, and the paper industry, is another key driver of gas demand (with 17.5% share of total consumption in 2021[7]). As of 2021, natural gas vehicles (NGVs) account for 2.5% of gas consumption.[7]

In April 2019, Thailand's government approved the amended National Power Development Plan (PDP). Under the revised PDP, the government forecasts having 53% of the country's power from fossil gas by 2037, an increase of 13% from the previously released plan. The PDP 2018 forecasted total gas demand at around 60 bcm by 2030.[8]

Thailand plans to increase LNG imports, with LNG accounting for 40% of gas supply by 2025 and close to 80-90% by 2037. [9]

Thailand has committed to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario from the reference year of 2005. With additional international assistance, this reduction can go up to 40%. The country has also pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero GHG emissions in 2065.[10]

Fossil Gas Production, Imports, and Transportation

As of 2020, Thailand had 0.1 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves.[11] Initially, domestic production was mainly offshore in the Gulf of Thailand. Since gas produced in the Gulf of Thailand is generally "wet" gas (made up of other hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, butane, etc.), it is fed into GSPs to extract the hydrocarbons.[12] Gas produced in the Gulf of Thailand is routed to Rayong, where it is treated and delivered to power plants, industrial plants, and GSPs.[5] Gulf of Thailand reserves peaked in 2006 and have plummeted since then, with a reserve-to-production ratio of just 4.4 at the end of 2020.[9][11]

Total gas production in Thailand as of 2021 was 31.5 bcm.[6]

Thailand has extensive gas transmission infrastructure. The national gas pipeline system connects onshore and offshore gas fields to power plants, gas separation plants (GSPs), and industrial users.[13]

Pipeline imports from Myanmar started in 1998, plateauing at 10 bcm.[5] In 2021, total pipeline imports of 6.7 bcm came from Myanmar.[6] The imported pipeline gas supply mainly comes from Myanmar's Yadana and Yetagun gas fields. This pipeline gas supply comes from the West to the Kanchanaburi province and is routed to power plants in the Ratchaburi province.[5] Myanmar has also set a policy of no future gas exports to Thailand, causing LNG imports to rise to meet increasing demand once the current contracts end.[12]

Additionally, a small volume of gas is imported from the ExxonMobil-operated Phu Hom and Nam Phong fields in the Northeast. Since the fields are not connected to the gas grid infrastructure, the gas is sourced solely to nearby power plants, NGV stations, and local communities.[5][12][14]

LNG imports began in 2011.[5] Thailand relied mainly on short term deals and spot cargoes for its LNG until a contract with Qatar took effect in 2015 (2 mtpa for 20 years).[15] In 2021, 9.2 bcm of LNG was imported, of which, 3.6 bcm was from Qatar, 1.5 bcm from Malaysia, 1.2 bcm from Nigeria, and 1 bcm from Australia.[6]

Map Ta Phut LNG Terminal is Thailand's first LNG regasification terminal. It started operating in 2011 and has a current capacity of 11.5 mtpa.[16] A second onshore LNG import terminal at Nong Fab was expected to be commissioned by the end of 2022; however, as of January 2023, there was no confirmation of commissioning.[17]

Government Agencies and other Key Players in Gas Sector

PTT is the state-owned oil and gas company. It is the largest corporation in the country and is involved in electricity generation, petrochemical products, and oil and gas exploration and production.[18]

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is a state-owned enterprise responsible for "electricity generation, electricity acquisition, and electricity sales to the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), a number of direct customers by law, and neighboring countries."[19]


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