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23rd Round of Petroleum Bidding for Exploration and Production Delayed Indefinitely

Tilleke & Gibbins, a Corporate Member of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce has kindly shared the following legal opinion on a number of issues linked to the COVID-19 situation. In this article, Tilleke & Gibbins is providing an update on the latest round of bidding for petroleum exploration and production.

The Ministry of Energy has issued an order to delay the 23rd round of bidding for petroleum exploration and production, as reported on the official website of the Department of Mineral Fuels (DMF). The 23rd round of bidding involved three exploration blocks in the Gulf of Thailand, and was previously expected to open in early April 2020, with the DMF set to return their final decision regarding concessions within the end of 2020. The delayed round of bidding would have reportedly been the first round in 13 years.

However, the Ministry of Energy has now announced that the scheduled date for opening up the 23rd round of bidding will now be delayed indefinitely, due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and due to the global decline in oil prices, both of which might discourage potential investors. In particular, the countermeasures taken to reduce the crossborder spread of COVID-19 have included restrictions on international travel, and foreign companies engaging in the petroleum exploration and production business will face significant difficulties in travelling into Thailand for the time being.

The Director-General of the DMF has announced that the date for the 23rd round of bidding will be delayed until the COVID-19 situation has alleviated, and international travel has returned to normal.

If you have further queries about these regulations, please contact Supasit Saypan at [email protected] or +66 2056 5994.