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Thai power generator EGAT plans LNG imports, floating gas unit

(Reuters) State-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is in talks with several LNG suppliers and preparing to develop a FSRU, senior energy officials said.

The move is part of the military government's plan to liberalize imports of LNG and create competition in the sector, Energy Minister Anantaporn Kanjanarat told reporters late on Monday.

"The ministry has a policy to speed up the liberalization of LNG imports and we need to encourage more players," Anantaporn said.

State-controlled PTT is Thailand's sole gas supplier and the only LNG importer.

To liberalize the sector, the government has already introduced third-party access, which allows other companies to use PTT's pipelines for supplying gas to end-users.

EGAT Governor Kornrasit Pakchotanon said the state utility planned to build a 5 MMtpy FSRU that is expected to receive approval from the national energy policy committee during November.

EGAT, the country's largest power producer, is keen to import LNG and has studied a proposal to use the floating storage.

In May 2015, EGAT said it signed a preliminary agreement with Tokyo Electric Power Co. to cooperate on LNG imports to Thailand.

Thailand, which uses natural gas for almost 70% of its power generation, is expected to import a large amount of LNG in the future to help offset falling domestic gas supplies. The country imports a quarter of its natural gas from Myanmar.

PTT's LNG import terminal at Map Ta Phut, in the eastern part of the country, will double in size from 5 MMtpy currently once an expansion is finished in 2017.

Prices of LNG have come down in recent months after the slump in crude oil prices since last year. PTT has said it planned to import more LNG from the spot market this year due to the drop in prices.

Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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