Global LNG | Price Slump Deepens on Thin Demand

LNG ship at night

By MarEx 2015-01-30 11:24:50

Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices for March delivery extended losses as winter demand failed to materialize to the extent hoped, traders said on Friday.

The price of spot LNG fell to $7.20 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on Friday from $8.00 last week.

"There's simply no demand, it's difficult to even say what the price is because you cannot see bids from the Far East," a trader said.

"There are some opportunistic buyers but not much else."

Traders said Japanese utility Tohoku Electric purchased an LNG cargo for delivery in the third week of March at a price in the low $7 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) range.

In other tender results, European commodity traders won the lion's share of a closely-watched tender to supply Egypt with $2.2 billion worth of LNG, as they work to expand into a business typically dominated by the oil majors.

Vitol, Noble Group and Trafigura will supply most of the LNG, with oil major BP covering the remainder, traders said.

Mexican state-owned utility CFE bought eight cargoes, with Trafigura awarded the bulk of the volume, selling seven cargoes, while oil major BP sold the remaining cargo.

BEARISH OUTLOOK

Oil prices have shed more than 50 percent since June, under pressure from a glut in supply. The LNG market is facing a similar challenge as new supply comes on stream, while at the same time the full force of the weak crude market works through into gas contracts.

"There's a combination of very low demand and higher supply availability," a trader said.

Compounding the issue, Indonesia has 25 uncommitted cargoes of LNG which may be offered on the spot market in 2015 and may have to curb production if they cannot be sold quickly, upstream oil and gas regulator SKKMigas said this week.

Traders said the Indonesian cargoes added to the already bearish sentiment in the market.

A key supply issue in the market was resolved on Friday when Yemen lifted force majeure on LNG deliveries from its Balhaf plant.

Production at Norway's Snoehvit LNG plant continued to be on hold after a gas leak on Tuesday, operator Statoil said.

By Sarah McFarlane and Oleg Vukmanovic (C) Reuters 2015.