Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased and honored to be here today to address to you on the current status of petroleum activities in Thailand.

Each day at present, we are importing about 230,000 barrels of oil and refined products to meet our domestic needs. While energy is a crucial factor in sustaining our social and economic growth, its high cost of import has been a heavy burden on our foreign exchange reserves.

To add to this problem, too much reliance on foreign oil has put our social and development plans at great risk particularly with respect to both pricing and political uncertainties in the producing countries.

Hence, the government's first step toward alleviating this problem was to put greater emphasis on developing our own natural resources. But although we have made substantial progress in exploiting our offshore natural gas and onland crude oil in the past decade, Thailand is and will continue to be a net oil importing country in the foreseeable future.

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