Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra clinched a deal for gas concessions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) during her two-day tour that started on March 24, the first official visit to the Oceania nation by any Thai premier.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill agreed to grant gas licenses to Thailand’s private sector, a decision that will directly benefit PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP), Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas company.
The historic trip by Yingluck was carried out to forge stronger bilateral ties with the resource-rich nation, which is the largest economy of the 14 Pacific island nations of Oceania.
During talks between the two leaders, O’Neill encouraged the transfer of agri-tech knowledge and Thai rice species to Papua New Guinea, Thailand’s second largest rice importer after Australia.
Trade relationships will aim to be improved in agricultural goods, including rice, fishery products and seafood, as well as automobile products.
O’Neill also pursued Yingluck to agree to begin running direct flights from Bangkok to Papua New Guinea, which boasts alluring dive spots and cultural experiences that could attract offshoots of Thailand’s large tourist volume.
Thai investors are currently interested in energy and renewable energy, food, agriculture, fishery and construction opportunities in Papua New Guinea.
Thirty delegates representing the Thai private sector joined Yingluck on her visit. Tax barriers, such as double taxation, were discussed and could be possibility removed for Thai businesses.
Papua New Guinea has 226.5 billion cubic feet of proven gas reserves, according to the latest statistics from the CIA World Factbook, but many industry experts believe actual reserves could be much higher.
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Justin Calderon is a research analyst for Inside Investor based in Manila, Philippines. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek (Japan), CNN Travel, GlobalPost, Global Times and The Nation (Bangkok). Living in and out of Asia since 2006, Justin spent two years in Shanghai working for a popular B2B magazine. He also hunkered himself down in Taipei for two years to teach English and study traditional Chinese characters. He is a Mandarin and Thai reader and speaker.
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