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Thailand orders traders to suspend diesel exports

(Reuters) - Thailand has ordered traders to suspend diesel exports while Thai Oil Plc repairs its No. 3 crude distillation unit in Chonburi province, a government official said on Wednesday.

It was unclear how long the export suspension would last, but the energy ministry's director-general Sarawut Kaewtathip said it was aimed at preventing local shortages of diesel during the unit's 13-day maintenance period ending on Jan 28.

Thai Oil operates a 275,000-barrels per day (bpd) refinery located near the port of Laem Chabang in Sriracha, Chonburi province. The No. 3 CDU, the largest among the plant's three crude units, has the capacity to process 180,000 bpd of oil.

Sarawut said the ministry's energy business department had met with traders and refineries to prepare measures to prevent and solve any shortages.

There are no problems with supply of gasoline and jet fuel but high-speed diesel supply is "quite tight", he said.

"The department has ordered oil traders to suspend the export of high-speed diesel, unless necessary, in order to increase domestic supply to meet demand," he said.

Up to 20% of legal diesel reserves can also be sold to ensure sufficient supply, Sarawut said.

In the first 11 months of 2023, Thailand exported 5 billion liters of diesel, worth $3.6 billion or about 1.4% of total exports.

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