The NACC in Thailand recently announced that four former executives of the state-owned oil and gas company, PTT Exploration and Production Public Company (PTTEP), have been found guilty of corruption, conspiracy and bribery. The charges were related to PTTEP’s Arthit offshore gas field project.

The NACC investigation revealed a long-running corruption and bribery scheme in the Arthit project involving the procurement of feed gas turbine compressors valued at more than $24.6m between 2004 and 2008. 

The NACC was made aware of this case following the US Government’s announcement of its investigation into the global bribery scheme of Rolls-Royce, the UK-based manufacturer and distributor of power systems for the aerospace, defence, marine and energy sectors. 

The scheme involved PTTEP’s vice-president of the Thai Offshore Assets Division, Poawpadet Vorabutr, intentionally issuing invitations to unapproved vendors, including Rolls-Royce, to submit bid proposals. 

The ad hoc board for Arthit procurement, which included Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith, Chulasingh Vasantasingh and Anucha Sihanatkathakul, furthered the scheme by recognising the bid result. They approved the purchase in principle, although critical issues and observations had yet to be finalised.

The company entered a deferred prosecution agreement, which publicly disclosed information on corrupt contract awards about gas turbine procurement for several of the Thai Government’s natural gas projects, including PTTEP’s Arthit project. 

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The commission said the NACC initiated its investigation in response to this high-profile disclosure. 

PTTEP developed Thailand’s first carbon capture and storage project at the Arthit offshore gas field in 2022, paving the way towards the company’s net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. The project launched in 2021, and the feasibility study concluded in 2022, “marking the first initiative of its kind in the country”, according to the company.