Thailand – an Energy Snapshot

The Government of Thailand has outlined a clear and consistent role for natural gas in the current and future energy mix as a cornerstone of the country’s energy ambitions to establish itself as a regional LNG hub. Natural gas is central to the development of national policies covering energy security, economic development and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In 2020, 43% of Thailand’s primary energy came from natural gas – historically the majority of Thailand’s gas supply has come from domestic offshore production or via pipeline from Myanmar but as domestic resources decline it’s increasingly relying on imports from Qatar, Indonesia, Peru and Nigeria. Oil accounted for 37% of the energy mix and coal 14%, with renewables not measured due to incomplete data. Natural gas generated more than 64% of Thailand’s electricity in 2020 with renewables contributing more than 14%.

At COP 27 Thailand submitted a revised emissions reductions target of 30-40% by 2030, while reiterating its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero emissions by 2065.

Thailand’s accompanying Long Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy forecasts renewables making up 68% of the country’s energy mix by 2040 and 74% by 2050 if these targets are to be met.

Thailand’s existing Alternative Energy Development Plan had outlined aims to increase the use of renewables in the primary energy mix to 30% by 2037 from its current low base. The plan focused on using renewables for power generation, heat generation and biofuel production. It set targets for developing community power plants at 1,933 MW, biomass power plants at 600 MW, biogas power plants at 183 MW, wastewater power plants at 600 MW and hybrid energy sources from solar-biomass-biogas at 550 MW.

The plan develops and promotes the use of solar greenhouses, solar-powered fish farm management systems, fast-growing trees for biomass production, and increases the use of wastewater to produce biogas for heat and electricity generation.

“Thailand has a great opportunity to be a hub for lower carbon energy solutions in Southeast Asia – from LNG to carbon capture, hydrogen and ammonia, renewables and smart power grids. And it’s the ongoing role of natural gas in underpinning electricity generation that makes that opportunity possible.”

Paul Everingham, ANGEA CEO

Thailand’s energy, in brief

  • Carbon neutral target of 2050
  • Natural gas generates 64% of electricity
  • Growing focus on LNG imports
  • Natural fit for CCUS technology

Thailand’s Gas Plan 2018-2037 aims to support the growth of natural gas to reduce air pollution. It prioritises the exploration and production of domestic natural gas from the Gulf of Thailand to maintain production at 43 BCM per day. It will be preferentially used for industry, reaching 5% of total needs by 2037.

The focus on domestic production means it will be important to finalise a joint development agreement with Malaysia in the Gulf of Thailand, as well as dealing with overlapping claims with Cambodia.

With declining gas production in the Gulf of Thailand and the Gulf of Martaban, LNG imports are expected to grow to 26 million tonnes by 2037 from 5.2 million tonnes in 2019.

The natural gas pipeline network will be expanded, and LNG terminals built to meet gas demand maintaining at least 60% utilisation of the network. The 7.5 mtpa Map Ta Phut LNG Terminal 2 received its first cargo in mid-2022 and was successfully commissioned early in 2023, while other significant import terminals have been proposed in Surat Thani and Songkhla.

The Ministry of Energy is reforming and liberalising natural gas markets to attract new players, increase competition and build the experience of entrepreneurs especially for LNG import and transport, supporting the development of a trading hub.

More regulatory reform is needed to increase competition and improve the operating environment. Regional power market integration is a priority for Thailand and the government plans to invest in energy facilities to encourage Thai businesses to expand into neighbouring countries.

Thailand does not yet have an operational carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) project at scale but the country’s energy transition commitment and strong use of natural gas make it a natural fit for the technology. Thai industry has been active in partnering with Japanese counterparts on developing CCUS solutions.

The Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA) and its members are collaborating with industry and key stakeholders in Thailand, particularly on CCUS. In partnership with the Petroleum Institute of Thailand, ANGEA held an Energy Transition Executive Forum in Bangkok in March 2023.

ANGEA is an industry association representing LNG and natural gas producers, energy buyers, suppliers and companies in APAC. Based in Singapore, it works in partnership with governments and societies across the region to deliver reliable and secure energy solutions that achieve national economic, energy security, social and environmental objectives and meet global climate goals.