BANGKOK -- Thai state energy group PTT has promoted Auttapol Rerkpiboon to president and CEO, a position in which he will need to secure more natural gas imports to satisfy the nation's appetite.
Auttapol, now the chief operating officer for the companies refining a sales business, beat out five other candidates within the group. He will succeed Chansin Treenuchagron, who is to retire in May. PTT's board approved the decision on Dec. 19.
The biggest challenge facing PTT is to expand its liquefied natural gas business. The company's main gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand are too depleted to meet domestic consumption.
The government envisions Thailand as the center of LNG trading in Southeast Asia since imports in those countries are set to rise along with the populations.
PTT's new leader must support the government's goal of establishing an LNG trade hub, a source from the Energy Ministry told the Bangkok Post.
Through group companies, PTT develops oil and gas in countries such as Malaysia and Myanmar. The company has partnered with U.S.-based Anadarko Petroleum and Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. in a natural gas project in Mozambique that will begin production in 2024.
Thailand's Ministry of Finance owns 50% of PTT, which is the country's largest listed company with a market capitalization of roughly 1.25 trillion baht ($41.3 billion). Auttapol, 54, has worked for three decades within the PTT group.