PTT PCL, Thailand's top energy firm, said on Thursday it may import the first lot of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as early as the middle of 2011, earlier than previous indicated.

We should be able to start importing LNG from the middle of 2011. The timing is in range of the middle to late 2011, Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith, head of PTT's upstream petroleum and gas operations, told Reuters.

The global economic crisis that hit energy demand prompted PTT to revise investment plans and postpone the timing to import LNG from early 2011 to late 2011 or early 2012, Chitrapongse said in May.

The exact timing of LNG imports would depend on the government's 15-year power development plan, which would be reviewed later this year to reflect a changing economic outlook.

State-controlled PTT is in talks with several LNG producers because the company planned to gradually import up to 5 million tonnes a year after 2011. The construction of th LNG terminal is on track to finish by 2011, he said.

PTT and QatarGas have finally concluded a long-term LNG supply deal, with QatarGas to supply 1 million tonnes a year to PTT's first LNG import terminal in the eastern province of Rayong.

Thailand uses natural gas at about 70 percent as fuel to generate electricity, and the rest from others sources like coal, hydropower and imports from neighbouring countries. (Reporting by Wilawan Pongpitak; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Jason Szep)