Banpu to invest in solar rooftop businesses in China
Banpu Public Company Limited, Thailand’s largest coal producer, plans to boost its investments in United States shale gas as it prepares for the New York listing of its American unit this year.
The Bangkok-based company is speeding up acquisitions in the US as it reduces its reliance on coal, said Chief Executive Officer Somruedee Chaimongkol. “There remains a vast potential of power and natural gas business in the US that can help Banpu achieve its shift away from coal,” she said in an interview on Monday.
Thai companies from Banpu to Gulf Energy Development Pcl and PTT Global Chemical Pcl have been expanding overseas as demand and growth in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy slows.
Banpu is in talks to acquire more power assets in Texas, where it made its first US investment in 2021 with a 700-megawatt plant, Ms Somruedee said. It will also invest in solar rooftop businesses in China and renewable energy in Japan and Australia, she added. The company currently has solar plants in those regions, as well as in Vietnam.
CEO Chaimongkol Somruedee says Banpu is in talks to acquire more power assets in Texas. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Ms Somruedee said in June that Banpu is aiming to reduce the proportion of revenue it generates from coal from around two-thirds now to 50% by 2025. The company will replace those earnings with a mixture of natural gas production and power generation, as well as green technologies including solar and carbon capture, she said at the time.
Banpu reaffirmed the planned listing of BKV Corp, its US natural gas unit, on the New York Stock Exchange this year. Ms Somruedee said the company is weighing the “appropriate timing,” waiting for investor sentiment to improve following volatile natural gas prices. US natural gas futures have dropped more than 40% so far this year.