The supply of natural gas from Myanmar will be disrupted again from April 4-12 when electricity demand peaks at the height of the hot season, says the energy minister. Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said energy policymakers would meet in the next two weeks to discuss the expected disruption.

About 25% of Thailand’s gas supply comes from Myanmar, amounting to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day. Overall, Thailand consumes 4.2 billion to 4.4 billion cubic feet per day.

Most of the gas shipped from Myanmar to Thailand originates in the Yadana and Yetagun fields in the Andaman Sea.

Efforts would be made to shift from gas to fuel oil and diesel to fuel power plants, while energy saving would also be promoted, said the minister.

Gas supplies from the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area were interrupted last month by marine accidents, but deliveries resumed early this month.

“We will discuss how to handle the situation, as April is the hot season and demand for electricity is normally very high,” said Mr Pongsak.

“We also need to figure out how to diversify fuels used in electricity generation since we rely hugely on gas for power generation – as much as 70%.”

Pailin Chuchottaworn, the chief executive of the energy giant PTT Plc, said the company had talked to Malaysia’s Petronas and France’s Total – the operators of gas production from the Yadana and Yetagun blocks – about postponing scheduled maintenance until the long holidays in mid-April, when demand for electricity would decline.

He said PTT had also appealed to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc, two major gas users, to increase their fuel reserves.

Thailand faced severe problems in 2009 when gas supply disruption from Myanmar occurred without advance warning.

The incident prompted Egat immediately to expand the capacity of hydroelectric power plants to maximum levels.