BANGKOK�The fate of the Thai-Malay gas pipeline and the related gas separation plant will apparently will be left for the next Thai government to decide.
The project faces continued opposition in southern Thai province of Songkhla and Thailand's Office of Environmental Policy and Planning recently has rejected the environmental impact assessment for the Thai-Malay gas separation facility for the second time.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is considering alternative routes.
The pipeline, which would move gas from the offshore Thai-Malay Joint Development Area, has been delayed several times. Work must begin this year to meet contract requirements of delivery in mid-2002. For the first 5 years, Malaysia will take all 390 MMcfd, since there is insufficient demand in Thailand.
As planned, the 34-in., 270-km line would run offshore from block A-18, one of the three gas-prone tracts lying in the JDA. From Songkhla, it would link via a 36-in., 90-km line to Kedah in northern Malaysia.
The project by Trans Thai-Malaysia Ltd., a 50:50 joint venture of Petroleum Authority of Thailand and Petronas, also includes two 425 MMcfd gas separation units in Songkhla.
The Thai Council of State ruled last month that Industry Minister Suwat Liptapanlop could endorse the project without cabinet approval. But Suwat apparently will not to act before the Jan. 6 election.
Malaysia, through its state oil firm Petronas, has been pressuring Thailand to decide by Mar. 1. It has criticized Thai authorities' handling of local opposition that has blocked the line and separation plant. (OGJ Online, Oct. 23, 2000).
Instead, Malaysia has unofficially suggested a line be laid from block A-18, operated by a 50:50 joint venture of Triton Energy Ltd., Dallas, and Petronas Carigali, to Kerteh on the eastern coast of Malay Peninsula. The 34-in. offshore line would be 310 km long.