LNG prices rebound to highest since Jan as gas inventories remain low

Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices rebounded this week to their highest since January, as more spot demand emerged even as inventories remained low.

The average LNG price for October delivery into Northeast Asia LNG-AS was estimated at about $17.20 per metric million British thermal units (mmBtu), up $1.70 from the previous week, industry sources said.

Woodside Petroleum sold a cargo for Oct. 10-14 delivery into Tianjin, China to BP while PetroChina sold a cargo for Oct. 16 to 20 delivery into Tianjin to Trafigura on Friday, data from price agency S&P Global Platts showed.

Earlier this week, China’s Hebei Gas bought a cargo for delivery into Tianjin in December at about $17.50 per mmBtu while China Gas bought a cargo for delivery into Tianjin over Sept. 2 to 4 at just below $16 per mmBtu, sources said.

Still, demand growth for LNG imports into China this winter is expected to be flat from the previous winter amid an economic slowdown and high gas prices, sources said.

In Japan, utilities are likely looking to stockpile ahead of winter as a hot summer drew down inventories, traders said.

Hokkaido Electric bought a cargo for delivery in November at about $17.30 to $17.50 per mmBtu, they added.

Demand from Turkey was firm too, with state energy company Botas seeking 30 cargoes for delivery over September to March, sources said.

Kuwait Petroleum likely bought four LNG cargoes it was seeking for delivery over October to January, they added.

Gail (India) issued a swap tender offering a cargo for loading from Cove Point in July, next year and seeking a cargo for delivery into Dahej, India in September, one source said.

Still, several sell tenders capped price gains this week.

Russia’s Novatek offered a cargo for October delivery into northeast Asia while Malaysia’s Petronas sold a cargo from its floating platform for October delivery, sources said.

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