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Production outages tighten Asian gas market

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LNG Industry,

Reuters are reporting that Asian spot LNG prices have risen on falling production from Russia, Angola and Malaysia, in an already tight market buoyed by prospective demand from China and Japan.

Spot prices LNG-AS for February delivery rose to US$11.50 per mmBtu, up 20 cents from the previous week, according to LNG traders in Asia and Europe.

March spot LNG fetched a substantial discount at US$10.50 per mmBtu, leading some buyers in Asia to attempt to defer their February purchases to save costs.

Several February cargoes were sold this week or late last week in the US$11.50 per mmBtu range, traders said, including to Japan and China. Prices at three-year highs may temper demand however.

Markets tightened further as a series of production curbs took effect.

The most serious of the issues occurred when a section of the Sabah-Sarawak gas pipeline feeding Malaysia’s Bintulu production complex exploded, hindering the plant’s output.

Petronas subsequently delayed deliveries to buyers, putting added pressure on Asia’s already strained February market.

Russia’s Sakhalin II export facility is also experiencing temporary output curbs.

Gazprom, the plant’s main shareholder, was in the market purchasing spot cargoes.

Angola LNG cancelled a spot cargo tender this week due to a technical issue that impacted production. While cancelling the tender, Angola LNG kept honouring term contracts.

Finally, feed gas supply into the Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana fell sharply but volumes have recovered slowly throughout the week.

Traders cited unplanned maintenance as the cause of that disruption.

By contrast, Russia’s new Yamal liquefaction plant was regularly churning out cargoes. Part of the plant’s first cargo is now sailing to the Everett terminal in Boston, aboard Engie’s Gaselys tanker.

The Boris Vilkitsky vessel recently departed Yamal and is heading for EDF’s Dunkirk terminal where the cargo will be reloaded onto a different vessel.

A separate Yamal cargo aboard the Fedor Litke tanker completed a ship-to-ship transfer with the Vitol-chartered LNG Jurojin tanker outside France’s Montoir terminal.

Demand continued to be seen from India.

Kuwait also launched a tender, which closes on Monday, seeking a cargo for delivery at the end of February.

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