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SOCAR Trading starts LNG trading in Singapore to capture Asian demand

Azerbajian’s SOCAR Trading has begun liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading in Singapore to capture growing demand in Asia, its chief executive said.

The company has hired an LNG trader who will be starting work soon and it plans to employ a few more staff, CEO Mariam Almaszade told Reuters.

“We’re looking to increase our footprint in Asia,” she said, adding that this comes on the back of expansion of gas trading operations in Europe over the past couple of years.

“(We’re) looking to extend the same set-up in Asia.”

The company is offering LNG cargoes to Pakistan on a regular basis in a deal between the country and Azerbaijan, Almaszade said.

SOCAR is also looking at investing in LNG-to-power projects across Asia in expectation of a recovery in LNG demand after prices cooled from record levels hit last year after Rusia invaded Ukraine.

“It was almost prohibitive for many countries to import LNG,” Almaszade said. “Today’s LNG prices are at more reasonable levels, so we see more people coming back to try to switch to gas.”

LNG buyers in Asia, especially emerging markets, have increased spot purchasing activity this year as prices LNG-AS have eased from last year’s record highs. Vietnam and the Philippines are the latest entrants to the global LNG market having started up import terminals this year.

Almaszade said the company has a long-term stable relationship with Vietnam for crude trade.

Vietnam could import more LNG to fuel its big industrial growth, but price is a big factor, Almaszade said.

“Vietnam has well-developed gas industry and infrastructure, but importing gas will pose new challenges and create exposure to global markets,” she added.

The state-owned trading firm is also looking at supplying crude and LNG cargoes paired with carbon offsets to buyers in Asia, Almaszade said, after it sold a cargo to Taiwanese refiner CPC Corp last year.

“We see our future in transitional energy,” she said.

The company plans to expand its carbon trading capability, including in Singapore, Almaszade added.

SOCAR started a carbon trading desk in Geneva two years ago with one trader.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Florence Tan and Jeslyn Lerh, Editing by David Goodman)

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