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China’s March LNG imports rise for second straight year

LNG imports into China in March 2017 rose by 19% from the corresponding month one year ago, the latest customs data showed.

This is the eighth consecutive month that China increased LNG imports. The country imported close to 2.0m tonnes of LNG in March, up from 1.7m tonnes in the same month in 2016, according to official data.

Imports in March 2015 were 1.4m tonnes.

Actual deliveries into China were likely higher than the declared figure, with LNG Edge putting the total at 2.25m tonnes.

Customs data does not always include every cargo delivered in the calendar month and may include some deliveries outside the calendar month.

State-owned importers continued to take delivery of long-term supply to cover domestic gas demand during the winter of 2016-17.

State utility Beijing Gas Group received one cargo, the last of its strip supply with France’s ENGIE, after diverting at least two cargoes in the preceding two months.

Australia was China’s largest LNG supplier in March with 1.1m tonnes. The country imported 430,564 tonnes from Australia in the corresponding period the prior year, the customs data showed.

Although Qatar was the second-largest supplier to China in March, its imports declined year on year from 447,701 tonnes to 207,190 tonnes.

The cargoes from Qatar were delivered to the terminals in Guangdong Dapeng and Jiangsu Rudong. CNOOC holds capacity at the first terminal, while PetroChina controls the other terminal.

LNG supply from Malaysia were at 273,707 tonnes in March, down by 55% from the same month the year before. The decrease could be due to the Shanghai LNG terminal requiring fewer cargoes as winter would typically end in March.

Qatar-sourced supply remained the most expensive with a weighted price of $8.53-8.55/MMBtu, followed by the US cargoes at $8.29-8.33/MMBtu, the data showed. Other supply sources were largely priced below the high $7.00s/MMBtu range.
Source: ICIS (By Xieli Lee)

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