What new initiatives is Banpu currently involved in?

VONGKUSOLKIT: We are looking to diversify the energy that we invest in. So besides the coal assets that we have in Asia Pacific, and some power assets in Asia Pacific, we are looking at some renewable power, like solar or wind in Thailand or other Asian countries. Besides that, most of the initiatives have been on cost reduction and increasing productivity.

What kinds of reserves does Banpu sit on today?

VONGKUSOLKIT: We actually have sufficient reserves at the moment, mainly in Indonesia and Australia. We have nearly 800m tons in reserves and we produce about 43m tons.

What are your thoughts on the environmental implications of coal?

VONGKUSOLKIT: I think the technology of coal in the future has to be much more efficient than it is today. It is still going to be very expensive to invest in. However, a super-critical plant is 40% to 50% higher cost. But I think that is the way that coal will be developed into the future. It is the most effective way to pollute less while still providing electricity.

Where do you see opportunities for investment and partnership?

VONGKUSOLKIT: We have a lot of key partners. For example, we are partnered with the Electricity Generating Company (EGCO) as our partner in Thailand. We have Ratchburi, which is another electricity generating authority.

Affiliates invest with us in Laos and we are now building a large power station together. Going forward, I think we have many potential partners that we can work with in the energy sector.

What is your outlook for Thailand’s energy sector?

VONGKUSOLKIT: I think we will look at how to find coal projects to support Thai energy needs. We will probably invest in some of the solar or wind projects just to support the economy of Thailand.

To what extent do you work with the Ministry of Energy and the government of Thailand?

VONGKUSOLKIT: I think that from time to time they review the power development plan. Actually, they could have done a better job if they started from the planning stage at the National Economic and Social Development Board when they drafted the whole plan for the country.