PTTEP also bid for two of three blocks on offer in Thailand and expects to produce gas from them in two years, Montri Rawanchaikul told Reuters on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi's flagship energy industry conference ADIPEC.

Thailand is facing dwindling gas production at its Erawan field, which PTTEP took over from Chevron after the American oil major operated it for 40 years.

The field, which in 2019 produced 1,200 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas, at handover produced between 250-300 mmscfd following delays to the transfer. It reached about 400 mmscfd in mid-2023, and PTTEP aims for it to reach 800 mmscfd in output by April next year.

"And then we put a lot of exploration effort in Malaysia as well because we believe that we still have gas in Malaysia, and Malaysia can actually turn the gas into LNG to export" using liquefaction terminals, Rawanchaikul said.

In Myanmar, PTTEP wants to extend its contracts for its two fields to maintain energy security, as its operations there produce the equivalent of about 50% of Myanmar's electricity consumption and 20% of Thailand's.

"We are not looking for expansion, we're just looking for securing the gas in need for Thailand and Myanmar," Rawanchaikul said.

Thailand currently needs to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) for roughly 40% of its consumption, which is about 4,000 mmscfd, he said.

PTTEP's ongoing exploration is not "enough because we still need to import LNG, so we have to continue exploring for new areas," Rawanchaikul added.

(Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Mark Potter)

By Yousef Saba