RIO DE JANEIRO, April 30 (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for
liquefied natural gas (LNG) jumped this week on the back of
strong demand to restock gas inventories in Europe and Asia,
industry sources said.
The average LNG price for June delivery into Northeast Asia
<LNG-AS> was estimated at about $8.85 per million British
thermal units (mmBtu), up $0.20 from the previous week, industry
Demand from China and Japan has remained strong as both
countries re-stock in early preparation for winter, according to
research firm Rystad Energy.
In the Atlantic Basin, LNG demand was also solid as European
buyers replenished stock depleted when prices reached near
record levels during winter.
"The market is tight, with strong demand" said Carlos Torres
Diaz, head of gas and power markets research at Rystad, by phone
"European prices also rose proportionally more than in Asia,
making it less attractive for U.S. exporters to travel all the
way to China or Japan."
The spread between Asian prices and the TTF reference index
in Europe, which closed at $7.99 per mmBtu this week, narrowed
to less than $1 - the difference which usually starts to make
the longer trip from the Atlantic basin to Asia attractive, Diaz
Strong demand has been met by stable supplies from
Australia, Qatar and U.S. The amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG
export plants has averaged 11.5 billion cubic feet per day in
April, putting it on track to top the monthly record of 11.2
bcfd in March.
Unipec Singapore sold a cargo for June 3-7 delivery to BP
PLC at $8.90 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on
The daily charter rate for shipping LNG on a vessel able to
carry around 175,000 to 180,000 cubic metres has risen to as
much as $70,000 to $80,000 from around $50,000 to $65,000 last
week, two shipping sources said.
(Reporting by Sabrina Valle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)