BANGKOK, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Thailand expects to hold auctions for two gas fields this March after terms are approved, Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said on Friday at a seminar.

The Energy Ministry and Department of Mineral Fuels will finalise the terms of the auction by the end of February and send it to the Cabinet for approval in March before the gas fields are open to bids, the minister said.

“One condition is that bidders will have to maintain a combined production level in both fields of at least 1.5 billion cubic feet per day,” Minister Siri said, adding that the selection process will take between five and six months.

Currently, the areas have a combined output of 2.1 billion cubic feet a day, according to government data.

Chevron Corp operates the Erawan field while state-owned PTTEP operates the Bongot field under licenses which are set to expire in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Last month, Royal Dutch Shell sold its 22 percent stake in the Bongkot field to PTTEP for $750 million. PTTEP has said that it would participate in the auction of both fields.

Auctions were slated to take place in December last year, but have since been delayed.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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