April 23, 2018 / 11:07 AM / a year ago

Thai petroleum fields auction to begin Tuesday: Energy Minister

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will begin auctions on Tuesday for petroleum fields in the Gulf of Thailand, Minister of Energy Siri Jirapongphan said on Monday.

After months of delay, the National Energy Policy Committee approved the terms of the auction and will invite bids on the offshore Erawan and Bongkot natural gas fields on Tuesday, Siri said.

Conditions include 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 for 10 years, the Energy Ministry said in a statement.

Chevron Corp is interested in bidding for the Erawan field as its current operator, Siri told reporters at the Government House. Its license for the field expires in 2022.

Auction winners are expected to be announced in December, he added.

The Erawan and Bongkot fields have combined output of 2.1 billion cubic feet a day of gas, government data shows.

Bidders in the Erawan field must invest at least $4 billion and bidders for Bongkot must invest $2 billion, said the Director-General of the Department of Mineral Fuels, Veerasak Pungrassamee.

PTT Exploration and Production(PTTEP), the upstream arm of state-owned PTT, operates the Bongkot field under a license that expires in 2023.

PTTEP plans to bid jointly for Bongkot with France’s Total, it said in a statement.

PTTEP currently holds a 66.6 percent stake in the Bongkot field after it purchased Royal Dutch Shell’s 22 percent for $750 million in January. Total holds a 33.3 percent stake.

PTTEP also plans to increase its 5 percent stake in the Erawan field.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Tom Hogue and David Goodman

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