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Thailand Approves Subsidies to Combat High Energy Prices

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Thailand’s government has approved a slew of measures on Tuesday, including fuel subsidies, supposed to counter the effect of high energy prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday.

Taking effect in May, the measures will follow weeks of protests against rising fuel and living costs.

Prayuth Chan-ocha told Reuters that the government will offer 100 baht a month to 3.6 million welfare cardholders for cooking gas and 250 baht to 157,000 motorcycle taxi drivers for fuel.

Prices of diesel will continue to be capped at 30 baht per liter until the end of April and subsidized thereafter. Natural gas prices will continue to be frozen at around 15 baht per kilogram for vehicles, while electricity bills will be reduced between May and August, he added.

In addition, the employee and employer contributions to the social security fund will be lowered.

Prayuth said the government was working hard on plans to help people get out of the crisis as much as possible.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the cabinet also approved suspending half of the 9.3 billion baht (US$278 million) debt owed by thousands of farmers to state banks, with the rest being restructured within 15 years.

Crude Oil Deliveries for Thailand

Meanwhile, Petroecuador, the state-owned oil company of Ecuador, hopes to reach an agreement with Thai counterpart PTT ( Thailand’s largest state-owned SET-listed oil and gas company) to extend the time frame for crude deliveries until 2024.
Petroecuador will meet with PTT this coming Friday to discuss extending the time it has to deliver just over 41.3 million barrels of oil by one year until December 2024, the company’s international trade manager Pablo Noboa told Reuters.
“We will have new opportunities to make direct sales, especially to large refining plants,” in Thailand Noboa said.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, President Joe Biden banned the import of Russian oil and other energy sources. His administration has spoken with a range of oil producers worldwide to try to maintain global supply lines.
Noboa explained that Petroecuador has not had direct discussions with the U.S. government over direct oil shipments to the North American country, adding that most crude is shipped through intermediaries.

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