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Qatari volumes continue to boost South Korean LNG

Greater long-term contractual offtake from Qatar continued to boost South Korean LNG imports in February compared to the previous winter.

Overall imports increased by 20% year on year to 3.6m tonnes, according to customs data. This is lower than December 2016 and January 2017 but higher than any preceding month since January 2015. It also extends to a fifth consecutive month of higher year-on-year demand.

A combination of cold winter temperatures, nuclear outages and supply cuts at the Gorgon LNG plant in Australia tightened supply in early December. This prompted South Korea’s state-run LNG importer KOGAS to tender for spot cargoes to be delivered in the first two months of 2017.

The largest increase in volumes were nonetheless from long-term supplier Qatar, which expanded its share of South Korean demand to 36%. The gulf state delivered 1.3m tonnes of LNG, representing only a slight decline compared to the previous two months.

By contrast the second-tier exporters Australia, Oman and Indonesia all lost ground as volumes remained broadly stable compared to February 2016 or declined.

The biggest drop in volumes came from Malaysia, which were down by 22%, continuing a trend from the previous month.

Nigeria, which was out of the supply picture altogether in February 2016, provided three cargoes to South Korean ports.

The weighted average price for all imports came in at just over $8.00/MMBtu.

The diversification of supply sources was limited compared to the previous month, though a cargo was delivered from the Algerian port of Arzew by Italy’s Eni.

The 146,000 cubic metre Golar Maria berthed at Incheon on 27 February, according to LNG Edge, and was valued at $8.06/MMBtu. This is part of a small mid-term contract between Eni and KOGAS.

Alternative buyers SK Group and POSCO received cargoes from the Indonesian Tangguh LNG project on the basis of long-term deliveries
Source: ICIS (By Joachim Moxon)

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