Energy Ministry opens ‘war room’ to handle possible oil supply disruptions
Thailand’s Ministry of Energy has opened a ‘war room’ ahead of any escalation in tensions between the US and Iran, which may impact Thailand’s oil imports from the Middle East.
Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong assured today that the ministry is capable of managing oil security by sourcing oil supplies on continued basis to meet demand and to try to stabilize oil prices in a way that they will not affect consumers.
According to the Energy Ministry, Thailand’s oil reserves by Sunday stood at 2.988 billion litres of crude, and another 1.144 billion litres of crude and 1.468 billion litres of finished oil products on their way to the country. Total oil reserves are enough to meet domestic demand for 50 days, whereas total reserves of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), amounting to about 101 million kilogrammes, are sufficient for household use for 17 days.
Minister Sontirat said that the ministry has diversified the sources of oil, to distribute the risk of relying too much on one source, by reducing the amount of oil imported from the Middle East from 74% of demand to about 50%.
The Natural Fuel Department is seeking cooperation from oil exploration companies to suspend exports of locally-extracted crude oil for the time being, as this will increase the amount of crude for local consumption by 25,000 barrels/day, said Mr. Sontirat.
In an emergency, he said that local oil refineries will be capable of producing an additional 36,000 barrels of oil products per day, adding that the state-run Oil Fund, which has a budget of about 37 billion baht, has drawn up a table of different levels of oil prices in accordance with different supply scenarios to minimize the impacts on consumers.