Thailand’s largest energy conglomerate PTT Public Company’s impaired natural gas pipeline from a natural gas processing platform in the Gulf of Thailand, leaking since Saturday afternoon, may affect power generation of about 3,000 megawatts, or 4-5 power plants, according to Suthat Pattamasiriwat, director of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
To tackle the problem, other types of fuel, such as stove oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG), are currently being used by EGAT to generate power, which Mr Suthat admitted could result in higher electricity bill. The normal electricity charge would resume once PTT finishes repairs to its gas pipeline.
According to EGAT, 70 per cent of natural gas harvested domestically is normally used for generating power for Thailand.
The Gas Transmission Pipeline unit’s executive vice president Wichai Pornkeratiwat of PTT Group said the leak was located around 325 kilometres from the eastern province of Rayong’s coast, where a main tube of 34-inch diametre and a minor pipeline of 24-inch diametre were linked.
A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was sent into the sea to monitor the situation and estimate time for further repair.
PTT announced the amount of gas leak reached around 600 million cubic feet per day, which clearly affected the company’s ability to transfer the natural gas to EGAT and the gas separation plants. In the meantime, a gas supply of about 400 million cubic feet was available to EGAT, while PTT is also sourcing 30 million litre stove oil supply, LNG, and gas from other fuel sources for power plants, which the company said will be sufficient to meet demand.
The gas leak incident has not had a negative impact on the marine ecosystem, Mr Wichai said, because natural gas was lighter than air, insoluble in water, and in an unadulterated form.
Meanwhile, permanent secretary of energy Norkhun Sitthipong said the gas leak agenda is under the ministry’s emergency plan. An executive board’s meeting on fuel is set for Monday to follow and manage the situation. (MCOT online news)