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Salamander CEO James Menzies. Image courtesy of Salamander.

UK-based upstream Salamander won conditional approval of its environmental impact assessment (EIA) for exploration drilling offshore Thailand Monday.

Salamander plans to drill 18 locations in the G4/50 licence located in the Greater Bualuang area of the Gulf of Thailand.

Of the 20 drilling locations Salamander initially included in the EIA, 18 have been approved.

The approval is subject to the company updating its oil spill response modelling to account for the removal of two potential drilling locations and communicating the removal of the two locations to local stakeholders.

Thai authorities have also stipulated technical adjustments to the EIA drafting.

The 18 locations approved for drilling include all of Salamander’s top ranked prospects in the G4/50 licence.

The company expects to begin exploration drilling before the end of 2014.

“We have long been excited about the potential of the G4/50 licence. Now that we have the EIA’s in hand we look forward to a low cost, but high impact, exploration drilling program over the next twelve months,” Salamander’s CEO James Menzies said.