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Trafigura expands LNG business in Pakistan

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LNG Industry,

Reuters are reporting that commodities trader Trafigura plans to open a further LNG import terminal in Pakistan as traders move into developing infrastructure to meet emerging markets’ appetite for gas.

The terminal at Port Qasim in Karachi will include a FSRU, where LNG will be converted back into gas for feeding into Pakistan’s pipeline grid.

Trafigura has already taken a minority stake in a separate Pakistani import project. On 11 September it was also shortlisted by Bangladesh, a major new growth market for the fuel, to set up a terminal there in 2018.

Floating terminals are faster and less costly to set up than traditional land-based units and offer commodity traders a route into new markets, helping to absorb a growing LNG surplus on international markets.

Nowhere is competition for market share among traders more intense than in Pakistan and Bangladesh. These countries have huge needs for gas but until now they have been largely unmet, hindering economic growth.

Rival Gunvor has already sealed two five-year deals to supply Pakistan with a total of 120 cargoes.

It too is moving into infrastructure. In a private deal, Gunvor joined a consortium, comprising Fatima Fertiliser, Royal Dutch Shell and Engro, which is behind Pakistan’s third LNG terminal. This will be ready next year.

Trafigura said its original share in a terminal project in Pakistan will use the BW Integrity FSRU unit.

This project, called Pakistan GasPort – also in Port Qasim, is due to start six months behind schedule in November due to difficulties laying a pipeline from the terminal to the country’s grid.

In February, Trafigura outlined plans to reopen a defunct LNG import terminal on Teesside in northeast England in 2018. The trading company also renewed its lease of LNG storage capacity at India’s Kochi terminal earlier this year.

Having infrastructure around which to trade provides valuable flexibility to trading companies which, unlike the oil majors, are typically constrained by a lack of storage, production and shipping capacity.

It also gives clients certainty that a trader can meet its obligations by drawing on LNG held in storage or by having a ready outlet for supply.

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