Environmentalists protest Samui oil drilling

1 Apr 2013

The campaign to stop explorations for oil in the seas around Kok Samui is gathering speed. Ten days ago, academics and environmentalists united against the Thai energy ministry’s plans to give licenses to three companies allowing them to conduct explorations for oil and natural gas.

Thai Sea Watch Association (TSWA) chairperson Banjong Nasae said his group was vehemently opposed to any such activities as it would be detrimental to the environment. The organisation says the explorations will prevent mackerel from spawning and affect tourism in Samui and its neighbouring islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.

The group chairperson warned that a government claim Thailand faced power cuts because of fuel shortages was a myth. The group says the country gets little income from current oil concessions and also has the highest pump prices for petrol in the region. 

The TSWA says that it is not totally opposed to oil production per se, but it should be beneficial to the country and not put the Gulf of Thailand at risk of environmental damage. The association says that if the government allows the explorations to go ahead it will step up protests.

National oil company PTTEP is one of the three firms in the running for oil exploration concessions. The company says explorations are necessary to guarantee Thailand’s oil supply and they also bring in valuable foreign income.

Many Samui holidaymakers take dive courses and trips in the Gulf of Thailand. The 1Stop Samui dive guide gives more information about the activity. 

Tags: protest oil drilling

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