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PTTEP’s Billion Baht Scandal: High Seas Drama and Corruption in Gulf of Thailand’s Gas Exploration

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Imagine the exhilarating world of gas exploration, where the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand hide treasures untold. Here, amidst the towering rigs, drama unfolds not just under the sea but also among the corridors of power. This tale revolves around the venerable giant, PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP), and a saga that feels ripped right from a blockbuster script.

Our story begins in the early 2000s, when PTTEP embarked on a quest for excellence, seeking to enhance their capabilities with state-of-the-art equipment. Enter the scene: a procurement contract so colossal it almost reached a billion baht. This was no ordinary procurement; it was destined to be a procurement of epic proportions, with Rolls-Royce playing the role of the coveted supplier for two gas turbine compressors for a contract valued at a jaw-dropping US$24.66 million.

However, in the shadow of this grand pursuit, a plot was brewing. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), akin to detectives in a noir thriller, uncovered a web of intrigue involving four high-ranking executives from PTTEP. The masterminds included the illustrious Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith, the strategic Anucha Sihanatkathakul, the visionary Maroot Mrigadat, and the crafty Phaphadet Worabut, who allegedly formed an alliance not of heroes, but of collusion, to manipulate this epic bidding tale.

Maroot Mrigadat, holding the helm of PTTEP, along with his compatriots Chitrapongse and Anucha, leveraged their positions within a shadowy ad hoc subcommittee. Their mission was ostensibly to oversee the procurement, but their intentions, as revealed by the vigilant NACC, harbored darker objectives.

In a cinematic twist of fate, amidst this cloak-and-dagger venture, tragedy struck – the untimely demise of Chulasing Wasansing, another member of the subcommittee, adding layers of mystery and sorrow to the narrative.

The plot thickens with Phaphadet Worabut, the liaison with a clandestine role, ferrying bribes across the tempestuous seas of corruption. It was a tale of greed that saw an astonishing 10 million baht vanish into the abyss, hidden within the accounts of unseen benefactors and shrouded in the guise of commissions.

But every saga has its sentinels. The NACC, armed with knowledge and righteousness, scoured the depths to bring these buried truths to light. Their expedition was not solitary; it was part of a grander narrative that spanned continents, entwining with the pursuits of the United States Serious Fraud Office (SFO) against the colossal Rolls-Royce in the labyrinth of global corruption.

This extraordinary investigation traced the tendrils of deceit across seven jurisdictions, unveiling a tapestry of transgressions that reaffirmed the age-old adage: with great power comes great responsibility, and sometimes, great corruption. The Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with Rolls-Royce by the SFO marked not an end, but a beacon of ongoing vigilance against the specters of bribery and corruption.

Thus unfolds our tale of intrigue and investigation in the Gulf of Thailand, a reminder that even in the quest for energy and innovation, the specters of greed and corruption loom, waiting to be challenged by the guardians of integrity. It’s a saga that whispers the eternal conflict between ambition and ethics, a narrative that remains relevant across seas, industries, and times.


  1. JaneD April 24, 2024

    This reads more like a thriller novel than a news report. Are we sure all the facts here are presented accurately? It seems excessively dramatized.

    • TruthSeeker April 24, 2024

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s hard to tell where the line between fact and fiction is drawn in this story.

      • JaneD April 24, 2024

        Right? I understand the need to engage readers, but when it comes to corruption, sticking to clear facts is crucial. It feels like this article might be blurring some important lines.

    • MysteryFan April 24, 2024

      But isn’t it more digestible this way? Real life is often stranger than fiction. Plus, it’s not like the corruption isn’t real. The dramatic presentation just helps highlight the severity, IMO.

      • JaneD April 24, 2024

        Digestible, yes, but possibly at the risk of undermining the gravity of the allegations. It’s essential that reports like these maintain journalistic integrity to ensure the information is taken seriously, not just as entertainment.

  2. GreenEnergyNow April 24, 2024

    The real tragedy here is the missed opportunity for PTTEP to invest in greener technologies. Why stick to gas when there’s so much potential in renewable energy? This scandal just diverts attention from the real conversation we need to have about energy sources.

  3. history_buff April 24, 2024

    The collusion and bribery part is nothing new, but it’s fascinating to see how international bodies like the SFO are coordinating to uncover these corruption networks. It gives some hope that accountability is still possible.

    • Realist123 April 24, 2024

      Hopeful, maybe, but let’s not forget that for every case uncovered, there are probably dozens that go unnoticed. The system itself is rigged to favor the powerful.

      • history_buff April 24, 2024

        That’s a cynical but probably accurate take. It’s like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole with these corruption scandals. The roots run deep, and full accountability is rare.

        • EthicsOverMoney April 24, 2024

          Exactly why public vigilance and journalistic investigations are crucial. They shine a light on these deep-rooted issues. It’s not just about one scandal, but about challenging the whole corrupt system.

  4. EcoWarrior April 24, 2024

    It’s sad how these energy giants continue to exploit the environment and now we see them embroiled in corruption. It’s time for a clean energy revolution, free from both environmental exploitation and corruption.

  5. BribeHater April 24, 2024

    The audacity of these executives to steal such massive amounts without batting an eye is astonishing. Corruption at this scale should result in lifetime bans from the industry and substantial jail time.

    • Skeptical April 24, 2024

      While I share your disdain for corruption, I wonder about the effectiveness of those penalties. History shows that corrupt individuals often find ways to evade full punishment.

      • BribeHater April 24, 2024

        True, but doesn’t that mean we should push for even stricter laws and more transparency? Giving up isn’t an option. We need to fight harder against corporate corruption.

  6. OptimistPrime April 24, 2024

    Despite the negativity, cases like these show that no one is above the law. It’s a slow process, but justice seems to be finding its way.

    • Pessimist April 24, 2024

      I’d argue they show just the opposite. For every executive caught, how many get off scot-free? The system favors the rich and powerful. This is just a drop in the ocean.

      • OptimistPrime April 24, 2024

        While it’s true that many slip through, raising awareness and holding at least some accountable is a step in the right direction. Change is slow, but not impossible.

      • RealChange April 24, 2024

        And let’s not forget the role of public pressure and investigative journalism in bringing these issues to light. It’s a collective effort that leads to change, however incremental it may be.

  7. WatcherOnTheWall April 24, 2024

    It’s articles like these that remind me of the importance of an independent press. Without these journalists digging into corruption, much of it would remain in the shadows.

    • MediaSkeptic April 24, 2024

      True, but we must also remain vigilant against bias in the media. It’s essential that these stories are reported accurately and without dramatization to maintain credibility.

      • WatcherOnTheWall April 24, 2024

        Agreed. The challenge is finding a balance between engaging the reader and presenting the hard facts. It’s a thin line that journalists must navigate carefully.

  8. Renewables4Life April 24, 2024

    All this talk about corruption and we’re missing the point: the fossil fuel industry is inherently fraught with issues like these. We need to move to renewable energy, not just to save the planet but to clean up the industry.

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