Gas pipeline leak in Gulf of Thailand

27 Jun 2011

An undersea Gulf of Thailand natural gas pipeline has sprung a leak and been temporarily shut down. The seepage estimated at 600 million feet³ a day was detected on Saturday at the Platong field, which is around 200kms from the coast of Koh Samui.

A spokesman for pipeline operator PTT said that although the conduit was its main supply link for natural gas, the leak posed no environmental threat as the gas would not dissolve in water and was lighter than air. The Thai energy provider said it was shutting down the link while it investigated the damage and tried to assess how long repairs would take.   

PTT says it will use a remote-controlled underwater detection vehicle to conduct the inspection. The company also said it would supply gas and fuel oil from alternate resources to try and satisfy existing consumer demand.

Officials at the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand estimate that 70 per cent of the country’s electricity is generated using natural gas. Any prolonged closure of the gas pipeline will almost certainly lead to an increase in the cost of electricity.  

A problem related to transporting or drilling for fossil fuels will fuel the debate over oil prospecting concessions in the Gulf of Thailand. Last July, Koh Samui witnessed a demonstration by thousands of residents, tourists and activists opposed to planned searches for oil off the coast of southeastern Thailand.   

Tags: Gas leak Gulf of Thailand

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