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Nur Aisha Abd. Wahab


Bangkok Post



Energy Ministry to make E20 primary fuel
Bnagkok Post (25/10/2019) - The Energy Ministry plans to make gasohol E20 the primary petrol available at pumps, phasing out gasohol E10 from retail, says Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong.

Thailand has five categories of petrol at retail pumps: gasohol 91 E10, gasohol 95 E10, E20, E85 and premium ULP 95 petrol.

In the coming years, these may be reduced to three or four, he said.

Mr Sontirat said the Energy Business Department has been assigned to study the feasibility and impact of Thailand using gasohol E20 as the primary petrol at retail pumps. A time frame for any switch has not been revealed.

He said more details regarding E20 as the primary petrol option will be unveiled after the effective mandatory diesel shift from biodiesel B7 to B10 in January 2020.

E20 is a mixture of 20% sugar-made or cassava-made ethanol, and 80% fossil fuel.

B10 is available in some demonstration petrol stations and will soon be available in retail petrol stations nationwide.

B7 will be downgraded from a fundamental diesel to an alternative because some European cars are incompatible with B10.

The retail price of B10 will be more attractive to motorists because it is two baht lower per litre than B7.

"The support for biodiesel will help the agricultural sector, which constantly faces price fluctuations," said Mr Sontirat.

He said B10 is estimated to absorb a surplus of 2.2 million tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) per year, or 66% of total CPO output, whereas B7 absorbs 1.6-1.7 million tonnes per year.

An industry source who requested anonymity said making E20 the primary petrol at pumps may not be that difficult because all petrol-based cars assembled in Thailand since 2007 are compatible with E20.

Japanese diesel-car engines constitute half of Thailand's automobile market and are compatible with B10.

The other half are from EU-based assemblers.

In a separate development, the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said it plans to accelerate the development of a new alternative gas-fired power plant to replace the existing oil-fired power plant in Surat Thani, which was abandoned after it was decommissioned a decade ago.

The new power plant is set to hold two units with a capacity of 700 megawatts each.

A natural gas pipeline is also projected to be extended from an existing gas-fired power plant in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Khanom district, owned by its SET-listed subsidiary Electricity Generating Plc.

Patana Sangsriroujana, deputy governor for policy and planning at Egat, said the initial completion and operation date of this project was set for 2027 and 2028 previously, but Egat bumped it up to 2025 and 2026.

The schedule was reset because Egat estimated the power supply in the South may be insufficient after 2025 because of the rapid growth of the tourism sector.

The new power generation unit in Surat Thani has an estimated development cost of 70 billion baht and Egat is proceeding with the environmental impact assessment report.

This new power plant will add to the electricity supply in the South, which includes the Khanom power plant, Chana power plant and Ratchaprapha hydropower plant.

Egat chairman Kulit Sombatsiri said the company plans to spin off its power trade business unit to facilitate the business as energy policymakers plan to make the country a trading centre for Asean.

The board is scheduled to consider the plan to spin off trading for the liquefied natural gas business unit to facilitate business operations on Monday.

Read more at https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1779509/ministry-to-make-e20-primary-fuel