Singapore: Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices rose for the second straight week to their highest in over two months, buoyed by stable demand ahead of winter and as some producers curbed supply due to maintenance or disruption at plants.
Spot prices for October delivery in Asia rose to $11.40 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week, up 30 cents from the week before, industry sources said. Prices for November delivery are pegged at about $12.15 per mmBtu, widening the inter-month spread, they added.
Planned maintenance at Australia’s Wheatstone LNG plant and a disruption at the Sakhalin-2 LNG project in the far east of Russia are expected to tighten supply in the coming week, traders said. Sakhalin Energy halted a production line at Sakhalin-2 on Saturday, but expects output to be restored in the coming days. While the issue is not expected to have any serious impact on exports as some supply can be replaced with volumes in storage, the loading of some cargoes could be delayed, said a source close to the matter.
Demand from new buyers is also supporting LNG prices in the region.
State-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is looking to directly import LNG for the first time, as part of a government plan to boost competition in the power sector, while Bangladesh has started operations at the country’s first LNG terminal.
Elsewhere, Japanese importers are continuing to buy in the spot market, though purchases have slowed from previous weeks when scorching weather had bolstered imports, a second trader said.
Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co may have purchased a spot cargo for August or September at $11.20 to $11.30 per mmBtu, traders said, though this could not immediately be confirmed.
“It seems that Japanese buyers have almost completed their procurement until October," said a Japan-based industry source.
“Although the heat came back again for a few days, because the summer is almost over, I think Japanese buyers will be not so active for a while."
All sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media. Energy companies do not typically comment on commercial deals.
Angola LNG has offered a cargo for the first-half of October in a tender that closed on Thursday, but results were not immediately available, traders said.
Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec), a unit of Kuwait’s state-run oil group, has sold a September-loading cargo from Wheatstone LNG to Japan’s JERA at $10.50 to $11 per mmBtu, traders said, though this could not be confirmed.
Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corp is seeking two cargoes for delivery in March and June next year, with Gail India looking for a cargo for delivery in the second-half of September, traders said.