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Thailand calls off long-term LNG import plan with Malaysia’s Petronas

Thailand has called off a plan for its state-run power producer to import up to 1.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per annum from Malaysia’s Petronas, a Thai official said on Friday.

Thailand’s National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) changed its mind this week on a decision in 2017 to have the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) import up to 1.5 million tonnes of LNG annually.

That in effect cancelled EGAT’s plan to sign a long-term contract with Malaysia’s state oil and gas company Petronas , which won a bid in June this year to supply the LNG to the Thai utility, an EGAT official told Reuters on Friday.

“The plan to import 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year has been cancelled per NEPC’s new resolution, although it was the NEPC that told us to do it in the first place,” the official said.

However, this would not affect EGAT’s separate deal with Petronas, which was struck last month, to import two spot-market LNG cargoes of 65,000 tonnes each, the official added.

The initial long-term LNG import plan was part of the Thai government’s attempt to boost competition and liberalise the country’s energy sector, in which state-owned PTT Pcl and its subsidiary had been the sole gas supplier and LNG importer.

EGAT was initially asking to import the volume for a period of four to eight years via PTT’s Map Ta Phut LNG receiving terminal in the eastern part of the country.

EGAT finalised a deal this year with PTT LNG for 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of regasification capacity there.

Thailand is now preparing to receive its first LNG import in a spot-market cargo from Petronas on Dec. 28. The second shipment is expected around April 2020 during an off-peak period.

Thailand’s energy minister has said the two shipments would serve as a test run to judge the viability of potential spot-market LNG purchases in the future.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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