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LNG surplus supply weigh on price despite pockets of demand



Petroleumworld.com 03 06 2017

Asian spot LNG prices fell for the eighth week in a row on healthy supply and subdued demand with recent tender awards confirming the downward trend.

Spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) for April delivery LNG-AS were pegged at about $6.00 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), 20 cents below last week's levels, according to traders surveyed by Reuters.

May prices dipped to $5.80 per mmBtu, although some traders had difficulty in assessing the month's value due to a dearth of deals.

Thailand's PTT and Gail India both purchased one April cargo at a price estimated to be slightly above or below $6 per mmBtu.

Japan is set to see average to warmer weather from March to May, the official forecaster said last week. Thomson Reuters' 45-day forecast for Tokyo shows parts of March and April to be several degrees Celsius above the average.

Yet pockets of demand persist. A Japanese end-user has a requirement for an April shipment while another seeks a May cargo, likely tempted by low prices to refill inventory ahead of the summer cooling season, one industry watcher said.

Indian Oil Corp seeks a cargo for delivery on May 4.

Meanwhile, Gail India's time-swap deal with Swiss trader Gunvor to offload some of its U.S. gas volumes, first reported by Reuters on Friday, will begin with Gunvor delivering 15 cargoes to Gail between April and December this year.

The deal should significantly cut Gail's demand for spot shipments, potentially contributing to an easing market as new production gets underway in Australia and the United States.

In the Atlantic, Argentina state-run energy firm Enarsa launched a tender seeking 20 cargoes between June and August.

The Al Khattiya liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, one of the world's largest, suffered damage to its hull in a collision with an oil tanker off the United Arab Emirates last week, operator Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday.

LNG prices are under pressure amid rising supplies of spot cargoes as projects offer spot buyers volumes that would have otherwise been shipped to term customers, traders have said.

Production stoppages at Chevron's Gorgon project in Australia, and a pipeline blast at Nigeria's Bonny Island plant, at the end of last week have barely dented sentiment. Gorgon's second production line resumed operations on Sunday, while traders reported little disruption out of Nigeria.

Story by Oleg Vukmanovic in Milan and Mark Tay in Singapore; Editing by Susan Thomas from Reuters

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