GLOBAL LNG-Asian spot prices fall for 4th week on new Australian supply
Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas dropped for a fourth week in a row, trading at their lowest in two months, amid increased supply courtesy of a new project in Australia and expectations of more from the United States. December spot LNG LNG-AS fell to $10.40 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), the lowest since mid-August. November cargoes were valued at below $10 per mmBtu, trade sources said. Oil prices are set for a second weekly drop amid high inventory, weighing on LNG prices as many contracts are oil-linked. Japan’s Inpex offered four spot cargoes over the second half of October through November from its giant Ichthys project in northwestern Australia, in a sign that it may be ramping up production, two industry sources said. It was not immediately clear if the cargoes were sold by Friday, but Inpex was due to load its first LNG cargo from the long-delayed project this week after earlier selling its first condensate cargoes, sources have said. Angola LNG and Sakhalin LNG each offered a cargo for November though details of the buyers were not immediately known. Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has also resold some of its U.S. term cargoes, an industry source said. Woodside has an agreement to buy LNG from Cheniere’s planned Corpus Christi export plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast. CHINA EYES LONGER DEALS Chinese buyers were still largely absent from the spot market, traders said, as they look towards longer term supplies ahead of winter. Unipec Asia, the trading arm of Chinese oil major Sinopec, is in talks to buy more LNG from the Exxon Mobil Corp-operated Papua New Guinea project, possibly for a period of three years, sources said. “Everyone is worried about a winter shortage,” said one major LNG buyer in China, adding this is driving Chinese companies to lock in term supply ahead of winter when demand typically surges. Chinese gas distributor ENN Energy Holdings has begun operations on the first phase of its Zhoushan liquefied natural gas import terminal, aiming to ramp up winter supplies in eastern China. Meanwhile, commodities trader Trafigura sold a cargo for late December delivery into Japan to trading house Vitol Asia during price agency Platts’ trading process on Friday, sources said. The cargo was sold on a price linked to Britain’s National Balancing Point (NBP). Oil major BP also sold a cargo for delivery into South Korea for mid-December to Vitol Asia.