Chevron, one of the biggest oil companies in the world and the most significant energy producer in Thailand, has stated that it will stay in the country opposing rumors of its withdrawal.
Chevron supplies a little over one-third of the country’s natural gas demand. The Gulf of Thailand is home to its first natural gas field, the Erawan Field. This is where the company operates explorations and production blocks.
Earlier in the month, rumors have spread that the US energy giant will be leaving Thailand after it cut jobs in the region. An estimate of 800 staff and contractors lost their jobs after the company experienced severe oil price decline. The move gained the company $500 million which was used to stay afloat in the market.
In a statement made by Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production President, Stephen Green said, “The core assets that we operate in the Gulf of Thailand are a core part of Chevron’s portfolio and we have intention of it remaining a core part of our portfolio. We are not leaving Thailand.”
For the year 2016, Chevron, along with its partners, have drafted a 100 billion baht ($2.9 billion) plan to improve operations in the Gulf of Thailand. They have also set a number of 300-400 wells to be drilled yearly.
The Government of Thailand which is headed by the military junta plans on auctioning oil and gas contracts which will expire in 2022 and 2023. The decision came after activists rioted against an extension proposal for the concession with existing operators. This includes Chevron whose main concession at the Erawan gas field will expire in 2022. Auctions are planned to start next year.
According to a spokeswoman of the company Chevron is willing to work with the government and has not yet given a definitive decision to join in the coming auctions.
Despite the impending auctions, Chevron said that it will stay in Thailand. License holders, including Chevron, are allowed to participate in the auction if no other bidders show. If they win the bid, the extension of concession may then be discussed.