--Clarifies role of state firm in 4th paragraph, adds background in paragraph 10-11.
BANGKOK, NNA - Tokyo Gas Co. and Mitsui & Co. have begun supplying natural gas in Thailand with local firms to meet growing demand from industries in the country’s strategic economic development area southeast of the capital.
The team is the first private-sector group to distribute natural gas to industrial users in Thailand as a result of the government’s deregulation program.
They started providing gas on Dec. 1 to clients in the WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate 2 in Chonburi Province through a joint venture with two local firms, Gulf Energy Development Public Co. and WHA Utilities And Power Public Co.
The local partners said in statements to the Stock Exchange of Thailand that the joint venture WHA Eastern Seaboard NGD 2 Co. has signed a 10-year contract under which it buys natural gas from state-backed oil firm PTT Public Co. and sells the processed gas to companies in the industrial park. The contract is renewable every 10 years.
The project, valued at about 198 million baht ($6 million), includes construction of a facility with annual production capacity of 2 trillion British thermal units, according to the statements.
The joint venture will also start supplying the WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate 4 in Rayong Province in April 2019.
The Japanese firms’ subsidiaries hold a combined 30 percent share in the joint venture, while the two Thai utilities own a 35-percent stake each.
Tokyo Gas, Japan’s largest gas company, has entered the gas distribution business in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, as part of its overseas expansion plans, a spokesman told NNA.
Using its upstream-to-downstream expertise in the field, the company agreed last week with a major power producer in the Philippines conglomerate Lopez Group to develop that country’s first liquefied natural gas terminal.
Tokyo Gas signed its first overseas deal in 2012 in a comprehensive cooperation agreement with PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp. to develop an LNG supply chain that includes its terminal in Vietnam, but construction work on the terminal has yet to begin.
Official red-tape can delay projects in Southeast Asia, but government approval of the Thai project was swift because it is in line with the Eastern Economic Corridor Development Plan, another Tokyo Gas spokesman told NNA.