PTT, Thailand’s state-owned energy company, has cancelled a contractd to buy 1 million tonnes a year (t/y) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatargas, after prices rose in the wake of Japan’s nuclear meltdown.

Increased demand from Japan has pushed up LNG prices from $7-8 a million British thermal unit (Btu) to above $16 a million Btu, according to Tevin Vongvanich, PTT’s chief financial officer.

“When things change, we can cancel that. What we signed was just an MoU [memorandum of understanding],” said Wichai Pornkeratiwat, vice-president at PTT’s gas business.

The company will instead buy the gas from two other suppliers.

PTT signed a MoU with Qatargas in 2008 to start the supply from late 2011, once the company’s Map Ta Phut receiving terminal starts operations.

The terminal opened on 7 September, making it the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. PTT is looking to double the terminal’s capacity to 10 million tonnes by 2016.