Chinese LNG Demand Outlook

Wednesday, 01 April 2020
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Total of 1.08mmt on the water with a delivery horizon of 28th April, with more than half due in North China. One cargo is likely to mark the first US export to China since March 2019.

North China

Of total LNG at sea, we are currently expecting 0.68mmt to be delivered to North China – comprising the wider Beijing area and China’s industrial north – with a current delivery horizon of 28th April.

Current market visibility indicates at least 0.19mmt (27.96%) are destined for PetroChina’s Caofeidian LNG by 7th April, with the three cargoes deriving from Australia’s Gorgon LNG via the Stena Crystal Sky (0.07mmt) and the Energy Confidence (0.06mmt) as well as from Russia’s Sakhalin-2 LNG via the Grand Mereya (0.06mmt).

Meanwhile, PetroChina’s Dalian LNG is looking to receive 0.07mmt by the second half of April, taking a 10.67% share of LNG headed to the region. The cargo is of Peruvian origin, having been exported by Pampa Melchorita LNG via the Methane Becki Anne.

At the North China region’s southernmost border, expected deliveries to Qingdao LNG comprise two Australian cargoes via the Spirit of Hela (0.07mmt) and the CESI Qingdao (0.08mmt), which are scheduled to arrive in the first and second week of April. The cargo aboard the Spirit of Hela derived from Papua New Guinea’s PNG LNG whilst the one sailing on the CESI Qingdao derives from Australia’s APLNG.

First US export to China due at Tianjin in April
Tianjin and Tianjin – Nangang LNG, meanwhile, also looking to receive two cargoes each by 28th April. Notably, the last cargo to arrive within that time frame is the SK Resolute carrying a Cameron LNG cargo to Tianjin, our LNG Market Tracker indicates. The trade is likely to mark the first US export to China since March 2019. We highlight that the vessel is not taking the route via the Panama Canal but instead around the Cape of Good Hope, implying opportunities for cargo diversions. Among other cargoes en route, the La Mancha Knutsen (0.06mmt) is carrying a Bonny Island cargo to Tianjin LNG whilst the Grace Acacia (0.07mmt) is carrying an APLNG cargo to Tianjin-Nangang.

Meanwhile, we expect the Maran Gas Roxana to deliver a cargo of 0.07mmt to a yet to be identified terminal in China. The vessel departed APLNG on 29th March and is due to arrive in China on 10th April.

East China

We currently see the East China region – comprising the wider Shanghai area and Zhejiang province – to receive 0.19mmt by 14th April. The most significant destination is scheduled to be the wider Shanghai area at Zhoushan LNG, which we expect to receive 0.09mmt (48.10%) from Qatar via the Q-Flex Al Gharrafa. The buyer of these cargoes is likely to be the ENN Group, one of China few private international LNG buyers. Moreover, we see one Algerian cargo aboard the Stena Blue Sky (0.06mmt) due at Qidong LNG on 14th April as well as a Malaysian cargo travelling to Shanghai LNG via the Polar Spirit. At the time of writing The Polar Spirit was indicating arrival on 31st March. However, Shanghai city’s second terminal – a peak-shaving facility in the Pu Dong district – was not expecting a cargo.

South China

In the south of the country, we are currently expecting 0.20mmt to be delivered by 6th April, led by two NWS LNG cargoes aboard the Dapeng Sun (0.06mmt) and the Dapeng Star (0.06mmt). We expect both vessels to arrive at CNOOC’s Guangdong Dapeng terminal in the wider Shenzhen area. The Dapeng Sun has its arrival scheduled for 6th April whilst the Dapeng Star is expected to arrive on 4th April. Meanwhile, the Pan Africa was en route to Hainan LNG at the time of writing. The vessel is carrying a Queensland Curtis LNG shipment (0.08mmt) and was due to arrive at Hainan on 30th March. However, the vessel seemed to be running late, suggesting to us an arrival on or around the 31st March.

As such, the expected LNG volumes currently en route to China are relatively small. This is to be expected given the milder climate during winter in the south whilst in the wider Beijing and Shanghai the country has only just begun its recovery from a widespread shutdown due to the coronavirus.

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