The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has decided not to take legal action against PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) for damaging Koh Samet's Ao Phrao beach.
The ministry says the petrochemical firm - a subsidiary of oil giant conglomerate PTT Plc - has agreed to pay compensation to cover environmental damage to the beach's marine life after the oil spill on July 27.
Chote Trachu, permanent secretary to the ministry, said Monday that PTTGC has not ignored the problems it caused and has agreed to pay for cleaning and rehabilitating the damaged area. Mr Chote said there was no reason to press charges against the company.
"The purpose of a legal case is to get compensation. PTTGC has agreed to pay compensation, so there is no need to pursue a case against them," he said.
Kun Patumraj, executive vice-president of PTTGC, said the company has spent more than 800 million baht on rehabilitating the beach and there is still more money to pay out.
Additionally, PTTGC has paid compensation to about half of the fishermen who claimed they were affected by the incident.
"Additional compensation will be considered on a case-by-case basis," he said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has spent 5 million baht _ mostly on laboratory tests of water quality and fuel costs _ on operations to deal with the oil spill, Mr Chote said.
The latest tests that took place from Aug 3 to Oct 8 found levels of crude oil and metal elements in the sea at Ao Phrao had decreased sharply and now meet safety guidelines.
"We have seen evidence of a recovery, including good water quality and healthier coral reefs, so we have decided to reopen Ao Phrao beach for tourism from the beginning of November," Mr Chote added.
The ministry plans to invite the media to visit Ao Phrao beach on Thursday to inspect diving sites nearby. Ao Phrao is considered an important site for coral reefs on Koh Samet.
Previously, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said the oil spill had bleached the coral reefs and they would need a long time to recover.
Mr Chote said the rapid recovery of the reefs was due to the ministry quickly ridding the site of crude oil and successfully rehabilitating the water.
"The coral reef was not dead, it was just in shock after the incident," he said.
Pinsak Surasawadi, director of Phuket Marine Biological Centre, said the quick recovery of Ao Phrao's coral reef was beyond his expectations.
Other indicators of Ao Phrao's improved marine environment include the return of small crabs and fish.