GLOBAL LNG-Asian prices rise for 3rd week, boosted by North Asian demand
Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices this week rose for a third week, buoyed by firm demand from Japan and South Korea and by loading delays from Brunei that have now ended, industry sources said. Spot prices for October LNG-AS delivery in Asia rose to $11.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week, up 10 cents from the week before, the sources said.
Japanese utilities bought spot cargoes for delivery in October, likely stocking up ahead of peak winter demand, the sources said. Kyushu Electric bought a cargo for delivery in October at about $11.50 per mmBtu, an industry source said, though this could not immediately be confirmed. Kansai Electric was also seeking a cargo for delivery in October this week, the source said. Kyushu’s demand came even though it restarted a nuclear reactor at its Sendai station this week, suggesting Japanese companies are likely building up inventory for winter, a second source said.
“This year’s summer was quite hot, so they were probably depleting their inventory then, which they are now building up,” the second source added. All sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media, while energy companies and utilities do not typically comment on commercial transactions. Japan’s Saibu Gas is seeking one cargo every quarter for delivery over 2019 to early 2022, industry sources said.
It is expected to award that in October, one of them said. Project partners of the giant Ichthys project in Australia were last week looking for LNG cargoes for delivery in November and December, trade sources said. It was not immediately clear if they had bought the cargoes. They are likely seeking the cargoes to fulfil term commitments, the sources said.
The project has been delayed repeatedly and is now expected to start shipping condensate, LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in that order from around end-September to end-December. A South Korean buyer is also in the market looking for cargoes to be delivered over 5 to 10 years, two trade sources said. Loading delays at the Brunei LNG plant may have resolved, trade sources said. LNG tanker Amani, which had been anchored near Brunei port for a week, loaded from the plant on Thursday and has now left, shipping data on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. Delivery of term cargoes to term customers of Russia’s Sakhalin-2 LNG project may have been delayed after one of two production lines at the project were halted last week due to a problem, a third industry source said. But the issue is expected to be resolved soon. Russia’s Yamal LNG plant has offered cargoes for delivery in winter to Asian customers, traders said. It was not clear if it had sold any yet.