By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, July 24 – Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices held steady this week, under pressure from surplus cargoes in the region as inventory levels in top importing countries remain full.
Some enquiries for winter cargoes could boost prices in coming months, several trade sources said.
The average LNG price for September delivery into northeast Asia <LNG-AS> was estimated at about $2.45 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up five cents from the previous week, they said.
Prices for cargoes to be delivered in August were estimated at about $2.35 per mmBtu, also up 5 cents from the previous week.
Around 20 laden-LNG tankers are still floating on waters mainly in Far East and in western Europe, according to data intelligence firm Kpler.
At least one cargo which loaded from the United States and was bound for Europe has diverted towards Cape of Good Hope and does not have a final destination yet, Kpler added.
Buyers of U.S. LNG continued scrapping September loadings due to weak global gas demand but fewer cargos were cancelled than for the two previous months, industry sources said this week.
Russia’s Sakhalin Energy likely awarded its late August loading cargo at around $2.40 per mmBtu on a delivered basis, one industry source said.
Australia’s Ichthys LNG plant likely sold a mid-August loading cargo at around $2.30 to $2.35 per mmbtu, the source added.
Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co (KUFPEC) has offered a spot for loading in Australia in September, sources said.
Still, a delay in the restart of train 2 at the Chevron-operated Gorgon LNG plant in Australia which has been shut since May for maintenance, could support prices.
Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said this week it plans to inspect the Gorgon plant “as soon as possible” following calls by a trade union to shut the plant for immediate safety inspections.
Mexican state power utility CFE is seeking two cargoes for delivery in August, two industry sources said. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; editing by Richard Pullin)