Energy Policy in Thailand

AuthorN.J.D. Lucas
DOI10.1177/004711788100700104
Publication Date01 Apr 1981
SubjectArticles
1021
ENERGY
POLICY
IN
THAILAND
N.
J.
D.
LUCAS
BOTH
the
developed
and
developing
worlds
are
compelled
to
reduce
their
dependence
on
oil.
The
choices
of
escape
from
a
common
predicament
and
the
means
adopted
to
allocate
the
costs
and
benefit
comprise
a
most
interesting
study
of
technical
change.
The
responses
of
the
industrialised
world
are
quite
diverse
despite
their
converging
cultures.
The
reactions
of
developing
countries
are
likely
to
be
even
less
susceptible
to
generalisation.
This
case
study
of
Thailand
is
presented
as
a
complement
to
previous
studies
of
the
energy
policies
of
industrialised
countries;’
I
the
intention
is
to
examine,
firstly
the
implications
of
shortages
of
oil
for
a
developing
country,
secondly
the
choice
of
responses
and
thirdly
the
reasons
why
these
choices
appear
to
have
been
made.
Background
Consumption
of
energy
in
Thailand
has
been
growing
rapidly;
the
average
annual
rates
of
increase
during
the
first
three
develop-
ment
plans
from
1961-65,
1966-70,
1971-76
were
15%,
16%
and
9.5%;
since
1977
the
rate
has
still
been
8.9%.
The
proportion
of
energy
demand
met
by
imported
oil
fluctuates
between
80
and
86%,
mainly
depending
on
rainfall
and
therefore
the
output
from
the
hydroelectric
power
stations.
There
is
no
obvious
sign
of
any
recent
change
in
this
pattern;
in
1974
oil
provided
82%
of
the
energy
demand
in
1978
it
provided
85%.
The
cumulative
consequences
of
these
high
rates
of
growth
are
striking;
imports
of
oil
in
1980
at
some
12
million
tonnes
are
roughly
nine
times
those
of
1960.
There
was
no
particular
diffi-
culty
up
to
1971
in
finding
the
necessary
foreign
exchange;
in
that
year
the
value
of
oil
imports
was
approximately
balanced
by
the
principal
export,
rice.
In
1980
the
value
of
oil
imports
exceeded
the
value
of
Thailand’s
four
principal
exports,
rice,
rubber,
tapioca
and
tin.
The
total
cost
of
imports
was
$10bn.
of
which
oil
com-
prised
30%;
exports
were
worth
$6.6bn.;
the
trade
deficit
was
roughly
equal
to
the
value
of
oil
imports.
The
present
oflicial
Thai
projections
are
that
energy
con-
sumption
will
multiply
by
another
factor
of
four
or
five
by
2000
AD;
the
proportion
of
oil
would
drop
to
70%,
but
the
See
N.
J.
D.
Lucas
’The
Influence
of
Institutional
Relationships
on
Italian
Energy
Policy’
International
Relations,
Nov.
1980.

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