RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Asian spot liquefied
natural gas (LNG) prices fell for a third week as a warmer
season approaches in the northern hemisphere, reducing the
heating demand that sent prices to a historic high last month.
The average LNG price for March delivery into Northeast Asia
<LNG-AS> was estimated at around $7.20 per million British
thermal units (mmBtu), traders said. That's 80 cents lower than
the previous week.
Cargos for April delivery were estimated at $6.60 per mmBtu,
with Spring in the northern hemisphere approaching after a cold
spell and supply disruptions.
That's about five times lower than the record high of
$32.50/mmBtu on Jan. 13.
Temperatures in Tokyo and Shanghai, in two of the world's
top LNG consuming countries, are expected to rise slightly above
the historical average over the next two weeks, weather data
from Refinitiv Eikon showed.
"The weather coming back down to Earth in a lot of half of
January has essentially meant that this demand has waned," said
Ben Chu, research director of Gas & LNG for consultancy firm
Falling prices in Asia are normalizing the flow of U.S.
ships to Europe. Four U.S. vessels have changed their trajectory
in the middle of the Atlantic in the last two weeks - diverting
from their intended delivery in Asia towards Europe instead,
according to Kpler consultancy firm.
Congestion delaying LNG shipments via the Panama Canal which
has been driving up freight costs in the past months, has also
LNG tanker transits of the Panama Canal hit a record in
January, with 58 U.S. vessels finding a shorter route to Asia,
the canal operator said in a Feb. 3 note.
Modifications in the canal's reservation system on Jan. 4
allowed last minute slots be offered through auctions. From the
25 auctions last month, nine have been awarded to LNG vessels,
the canal's operator said.
Karpowership, one of the worlds largest operators of
floating power plants, said some unique challenges have now
"With prices falling, I expect there to be a flurry of
purchases for delivery in March."
Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is seeking an LNG cargo for
delivery in April, in its first potential purchase in three
Thailand's state-owned company PTT shipped an LNG reload
cargo to Japan for the first time.