PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) will delay its exploration project in Iran for at least 6 months, as a result of economic sanctions imposed on the country and forcing imports from other, higher-priced sources.

The US, along with several other UN Security Council powers including China, France, the UK and Russia, has already imposed 2 sets of sanctions on Iran.

The move comes on the back of a 3-fold increase in operating costs since those sanctions, with PTTEP president Maroot Mrigadat noting that the decision would delay parent company PTT’s plan to import LNG from Iran and force it to import from elsewhere.

Mrigadat commented, “As the natural gas supply from the Gulf of Thailand will be tighter in 2010, imports will become necessary. PTTEP will try to supply the agreed volume to PTT. Though the Arthit Field suffers from some delays, it will be able to supply gas in February 2008, and the production output in 2010 should be as planned.”

Mrigadat is also optimistic that PTTEP’s exploration of offshore gas in Burma’s M9 Block, which would require $1bn of investment over the next 5 years, will go as planned. The company this year began exploring in the Gulf of Martaban jointly with Burma’s top state-run oil company, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.