February 22, 2018 / 9:11 AM / 8 months ago

Thailand pushes Erawan, Bongkot gas field auctions to April

BANGKOK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Thailand expects auction terms for its petroleum gas fields to be ready in April, a month later than a date given earlier, Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan told reporters on Thursday.

The auction terms will be submitted to the National Energy Policy Council in March. After that, the auction will be announced to bidders in April, Siri said.

Conditions for the winners include maintaining a combined output level in the two fields of at least 1.5 billion cubic feet per day at prices not higher than current levels, he said.

Erawan and Bongkot currently have a combined output of 2.1 billion cubic feet a day, according to government data. Many of Thailand’s gas fields have been producing for decades and are in decline, and the tender winners will be expected to maintain baseline production levels.

The auction is expected to be more complicated than earlier ones because there will be new and existing operators bidding under a production sharing system, whereas Thailand has previously agreed exploration deals on a concession basis.

The government aims to have determined the auction winners by November and December this year, Siri said.

Chevron Corp operates Erawan and state-owned PTT Exploration and Production Pcl operates Bongkot under licenses due to expire in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Royal Dutch Shell sold its 22 percent stake in the Bongkot field to PTTEP for $750 million in January this year. PTTEP has said that it would participate in the auction for both fields. (Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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