Asian LNG prices rise to nearly two-year high on winter demand
Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose to a nearly two-year high this week as demand continued to be firm for heating during winter and as buyers faced supply issues, trade sources said.
The average LNG price for January delivery into Northeast Asia was estimated at about $8.10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up 70 cents from the previous week, the sources said.
Shell on Friday, for instance, sold a cargo for late January delivery to BP at $8 per mmBtu, according to data from S&P Global Platts.
“It started off with cold weather forecast in Europe propping up prices in Asia, and then South Korea’s Kogas buying cargoes and speculation about supply disruption from (Australia and the United States),” a Singapore-based source said.
South Korea’s Korea Gas Corp (Kogas) likely bought seven LNG cargoes for delivery in winter through a tender and could be seeking more, a second source said.
South Korea will reduce the operations of coal-fuelled power plants this winter to cut fine dust emissions, which in turn is stoking demand for LNG in power generation, traders said. Eight of the nation’s 60 coal power plants will be halted during the season.
In tenders, India’s Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) is seeking a cargo for January delivery while China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) may have issued a tender to seek a cargo for delivery in February, traders said.
Russia’s Sakhalin LNG likely sold a cargo at about $7.50 per mmBtu while Trafigura may have sold a mid-January cargo to Centrica at above $8 per mmbtu, an industry source said.
Taiwan’s CPC Corp may also have bought about 5 to 6 cargoes for delivery over January to February instead of the initial two that it had sought, the source added.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)