BANGKOK, March 30 Thailand's military-appointed
assembly approved an amendment to a petroleum law on Thursday
which will give companies more options for exploration and
Currently, oil and gas companies must get a concession to
operate in a Thai field. The proposed amendment will add the
option of striking production sharing agreements (PSA) or
Thailand's Erawan gas concession, operated by Chevron Corp.
, and the Bongkot gas concession, operated by
state-backed PTTEP Exploration and Production PCL,
expire in 2022 and 2023.
The government wanted new arrangements in place before these
are concessions were renegotiated.
During the parliamentary session, a contested clause
allowing the government to set up a National Oil Company was
dropped from the bill. By taking a stake through a national
energy company, the government could get a share of the profits
from any block while also potentially bearing some of the risk.
Although the majority-state owned PTT Pcl is the
biggest shareholder in PTTEP, private shareholders still have a
say over its activities and also take some of the profits.
Parliament said the cabinet must set up a committee within
60 days to conduct further studies on how a state company should
operate. The study must be completed within one year.
Critics say such a company is not necessary and could be an
avenue for corruption.
(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Patpicha Tanakasempipat;
editing by David Clarke)