New Straits Times

Malaysia, Thailand look to extend cooperatio­n in joint developmen­t area


BANGKOK: Malaysia and Thailand may seek to continue their cooperatio­n in the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Developmen­t Area (MTJDA) as they eye more than US$10 billion (RM41.3 billion) in combined income.

Thai Energy Minister Sonthirat Sonthi-Jirawong said the country was hopeful of extending the cooperatio­n, which is into the final decade, since a memorandum of understand­ing (MoU) was signed 40 years ago.

“When the contract expires in 2029, both countries believe there will be continued cooperatio­n in this area,” he told the

New Straits Times at the 40th anniversar­y celebratio­n of the cooperatio­n, here, recently.

In 1979, Thailand and Malaysia formed a joint organisati­on to seek benefits from seabed resources in an area previously disputed by both countries.

The Malaysia-Thailand Joint Authority (MTJA) was then formed to explore non-living natural resources in MTJDA for 50 years.

Located offshore 150km from Kota Baru and 260km from Songkhla, Thailand, the MTJDA is about 7.25 square kilometres.

Since the first production of natural gas from MTJDA in 2005, MTJA had remitted a combined cumulative income of US$10 billion, with US$5 billion going to each government.

“We hope both countries could get higher income from this cooperatio­n,” said Sonthirat.

MTJA Thai co-chairman Dr Kurujit Nakornthap said there was still a high volume of natural gas that would last about 20 years.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said MTJA would provide an endowment of US$2 million for each government to support research and developmen­t in petroleum activities in MTJDA.

“We trust that both countries will continue the legacy of MTJA,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia