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US LNG exports shift

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LNG Industry,

According to the latest Reuters report, US LNG exporters have shifted their focus to Southern Europe from Asia as cold weather and problems with Algerian gas supply have driven Europe's gas prices higher.

Gas prices in Europe are at their highest premiums to US gas prices for three years. Several cargoes have already made their way to Europe.

Cold weather has hit the region, pushing up demand for gas. As demand has risen, supply from Algeria has been reduced due to problems at Sonatrach's Skikda LNG export terminal.

The ongoing shutdown of some French nuclear plants as a consequence of the discovery of forged manufacturing documents for some parts used in those plants has also fired up demand for power from the region's gas-fired plants higher than normal.

Spain, Greece and Turkey would be other possible destinations for the LNG cargoes.

The flow would likely slow in March, as winter comes to an end in Europe.

Over the past month, one vessel has delivered US gas to Spain and one to Turkey. Two more vessels transporting US gas were sailing in the Mediterranean and another was moving across the Atlantic.

That is very different from December when more than half of the vessels departing Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana turned west toward Japan, South Korea and China.

In December, spot gas prices in Asia LNG-AS jumped to a near two-year high of US$9.75 per mmBtu in early January due to cold weather and a problem at the Gorgon LNG export terminal in western Australia.

Asia gas prices have since collapsed by about 18% due in part to the return to service of the first liquefaction train at Gorgon.

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