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Price rebounds as North Asian buyers replenish inventory

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LNG Industry,

Reuters are reporting that Asian spot LNG prices rebounded this week as persistently cold weather in North Asia forced buyers to enter the spot market to replenish inventory.

Spot prices for March LSG-AS delivery in Asia climbed 40 cents to US$10.60 per mmBtu this week, according to several LNG traders in Asia.

Cargoes for delivery in the first half of March are trading between US$10.70 and US$11 per mmBtu while cargoes for the second half of the month are trading at just above US$10 a barrel.

Angola LNG sold a cargo for February at close to US$11 per mmBtu to a Chinese company. The company has offered a March cargo as well.

Japanese utilities, Chinese and South Korean companies are either buying or enquiring for March cargoes.

Some of the demand is expected to roll over to April, narrowing the backwardation between March and April. Backwardation is a price structure where prices for cargoes loading in the prompt are higher than those loading later.

China’s imports of LNG in January rose to another record high of 5.14 million t.

The strong appetite is expected to continue this year as China has announced a more ambitious plan of switching heating systems in 4 million households and industrial plants from coal to gas or electricity this year.

India’s Reliance may have bought a cargo for March delivery into Hazira terminal while Gail India is seeking its second cargo for March.

Supply issues continue to plague the market with lower volumes of spot cargoes expected from Indonesia.

Gas deliveries from Indonesia’s offshore Mahakam oil and gas block to Bontang LNG plant only met 87% of its target as of 31 January.

While Pertamina, the parent company of the operator of the LNG plant, has said LNG deliveries to its customers will not be disrupted, spot cargoes will likely not be available.

The plant exports about 1 – 2 cargoes every two months.

Further possible delays to Australia’s giant Ichthys LNG project could also see supply being tight.

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