Officials from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of Thailand have announced that the onshore distribution of natural gas in Thailand will be liberalised by mid-2014. A new regulation that is being finalised will allow the private sector to participate in the distribution of gas in Thailand. At present, gas distribution in China is under the control of state-owned PTT.
The new regulation will have a direct influence on the distribution of LNG imports, as PTT’s LNG receiving and regasification terminal and 1,437 km of onshore pipelines will be made available to third parties. Moreover, the new regulation will not apply to the offshore distribution of natural gas, as the ERC is restricted by mandate regarding onshore activities. This means that PTT will retain its effective monopoly of buying from local offshore gas producers and using its 2,198 km network of offshore pipelines for distribution. PTT has been the sole distributor of offshore gas since its initial investment in subsea pipeline construction in 1981. While access to its offshore pipelines has not been restricted since 2001, when PTT was partially liberalised, it retains control of all aspects of the LNG network.