Oman keen to invest in Thai pipeline

Nov 23, 2003 01:00 AM

Non-OPEC oil exporter Oman is interested in investing in a proposed $ 720 mm Thai trans-peninsular oil pipeline, Thai Energy Minister Prommin Lertsuridej said. Prommin said he would go to Oman next month to discuss details of potential investment by its government in the scheme, aimed at allowing shippers to bypass the busy Malacca Straits and cut voyage time to northeast Asia by up to five days.
"They have shown intention to invest in Thailand and there will be more communication between the two governments, especially on the land bridge project," Prommin told.

Prommin said he would also go to Kuwait and the UAE during his trip. The so-called Strategic Energy Land Bridge is intended to handle Middle East crude exports to the huge Far East market and will comprise a 240 km six-lane highway with a railway, gas and oil pipelines running through the middle and tank farms on both sides. Thailand intends to use the proposed link to promote itself as an oil-trading hub in competition to Singapore -- the region's premier refining, storage and trading centre.
It believes the scheme would be competitive, as oil imports by China, Japan and South Korea from the Middle East will double in the next 20 years from 20 mm bpd now.

Prommin said earlier this month a group of Japanese investors and the Tokyo government had shown interest in investing in the project. He said Oman was also interested in investing in one of Thailand's two refineries in the eastern province of Rayong, both of which are 36 % owned by PTT, Thailand's largest oil and gas firm.
The two refineries -- Star Petroleum Refining and Rayong Refinery -- have a combined capacity of 300,000 bpd and are operated by Alliance Refining. Star -- a $ 1.7 bn investment with a 150,000 bpd capacity -- is 64 % owned by ChevronTexaco. Rayong -- a $ 2.2 bn investment with a 150,000 bpd capacity -- is 64 % owned by Shell.

Source: Tehran Times
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