BANGKOK Feb 7 (Reuters) - Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Pcl (PTTE.BK: Quote) said on Monday it was in talks with Malaysia's Petronas [PETR.UL] about exploring for more gas at the Malaysia-Thai Joint Developping Area (JDA) in the Gulf of Thailand.
The move is aimed at meeting rising natural gas demand in Thailand and reducing dependence on oil imports after a surge in crude oil prices, Chief Executive Anon Sirisaengtaksin told reporters.
"PTTEP is planning to produce petroleum in the Gulf of Thailand as long as we can. Some may expect natural gas to be exhausted in the next 20 years. With new technology, we expect to extend the production period to be longer than that," he said.
PTTEP, a subsidiary of top energy firm PTT Pcl (PTT.BK: Quote), has joined with Petronas Carigali, the exploration and production arm of the national oil firm, to explore and produce gas at two blocks at JDA, B-17 and C-19, Anon said.
Last year, the JDA field produced about 335 million cubic feet per day, accounting for 10 percent of Thailand's domestic consumption, he said.
PTTEP has set budget of up to 20 billion baht ($649.6 million) to explore gas at its developing oil and gas fields, including JDA, but had not concluded the talks or agreed details on the proposal with Petronas, he said.
At 0737 GMT, PTTEP shares were down 0.5 percent at 177 baht, in line with a 0.5 percent fall of the broad market .SETI. ($1= 80.79 Baht
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