BANGKOK, May 21 (Reuters) - Thai Gulf Energy Development Pcl received licenses from the government to import up to 1.7 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) each year, the company said on Thursday, in a move that will cut energy costs.
It becomes the second firm to be granted such a license, after the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), as the country moves to free up its natural gas market and position itself as a regional trading hub for LNG.
In a statement, Gulf Energy said the Energy Regulatory Commission had approved its request for an LNG shipper license in the amount of 300,000 tonnes a year.
A license for 1.4 million tonnes a year was also issued to Hin Kong Power Holding Limited, Gulf said in a separate statement. It has a 49% stake in Hin Kong Holding, while Ratch Group Pcl holds 51%.
Gulf said its license would be used to supply LNG to 19 of its small power projects in the company. Hin Kong’s license will be used to provide fuel for a 1,400-MW power plant.
The licenses will lower LNG costs and energy prices for industrial users and the country, Gulf said.
Previously, PTT Pcl and its subsidiary had been Thailand’s sole gas supplier and LNG importer.
Gulf Energy had issued a request for proposal (RFP) in April to buy 1.1 million tonnes of LNG each year for 10 years from 2023, traders said.
By 2037, Thailand plans to have 53% of its total capacity of 77 GW coming from natural gas sources. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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