LNG carriers are increasing their pace of September deliveries East and West of Suez to destinations including France and China as prices are forecast to edge higher soon at the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer season.
Among the shipments scheduled in the days ahead, the 172,652 cubic metres capacity “Rudolf Samoyovich” was at the French Dunkirk terminal carrying a cargo from the Yamal LNG plant in Russia.
Suppliers at the forefront are the new US plants and the Qatar export complex at Ras Laffan, as well as the Yamal plant at Sabetta in Northern Siberia.
In pricing, the US Gulf Coast LNG futures prices from the Intercontinental Exchange were down, with September at $2.826 per MMBtu (down 0.108 percent), October at $3.120 per MMBtu (0.047 percent lower) and November at $4.154 per MMBtu (down 0.152 percent).
Looking out to 2020, the Gulf Coast January futures price was at $5.138 per MMBtu (0.199 percent lower) and February 2020 was at $5.273 per MMBtu (down 0.209 percent).
In West Africa, the 173,600 cubic metres capacity “Castillo de Santisteban” has lifted a cargo from the Equatorial Guinea export plant and is awaiting orders.
The 171,866 cubic metres capacity carrier “Ougarta” will deliver a cargo on September 4 to the Fos terminal near Marseilles from the Algerian Arzew plant operated by Sonatrach.
The 174,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Flex Rainbow” will arrive on September 7 at the Montoir-de-Bretagne terminal in France with a cargo from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana.
That’s as the benchmark price at the UK National Balancing Point was at $3.22 per MMBtu. It was higher at $3.75 per MMBtu for the main Continental European benchmark, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility.
There is still ample demand in the Middle East. The 210,100 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex vessel “Al Ghariya” will deliver a Qatargas cargo on September 7 to the Mina al Ahmadi terminal in Kuwait.
With the passage of Caribbean storms, the 173,400 cubic metres capacity vessel “Kinisis” is heading for a Panama Canal transit to the Atlantic after delivering a cargo to the Manzanillo import terminal on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
Average charter rates for modern vessels of 150,000 cubic metres capacity or more were at around $58,000 per day and are expected to rise, according to shipping brokers.
“Some charterers are positioning their vessels for a contango market (where the futures price is higher than the spot price) in the winter season and European LNG storage levels have been above 90 percent in August,” said one analyst.
In the Pacific Basin, the key destinations in the next few days and throughout September are China and South Korea.
The 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max vessel “Aamira” is unloading a Qatargas cargo on September 2 at the Incheon plant in South Korea, owned by Korea Gas Corp.
“Vladimir Rusanov”, with 172,000 cubic metres capacity, is scheduled to unload a shipment on September 4 at the Chinese port of Tianjin from Yamal LNG in Russia.
On the pricing front, the Japan-Korea Marker settlement price for October was $4.670 per MMBtu with a low of $4.220 per MMBtu. However, traders said the November prices are set to climb with a November high envisaged at over $7.000 per MMBtu.
Amid a growing volume of Chinese deliveries, the 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max vessel “Zarga” will unload a Qatari cargo on September 5 at the Jiangsu terminal in China for Guanghui Energy.
The 173,644 cubic metres capacity carrier “British Contributor” will unload a shipment on September 5 in Singapore from the Idku plant in Egypt.
Natural gas prices in the Australian state of Queensland, where three LNG plants export to the Asia-Pacific region, were last at US$4.86 per MMBtu.
The 155,300 cubic metres capacity vessel “Oceanic Breeze” is heading to the LNG port of Gladstone in Queensland to lift a cargo on September 5 after previously delivering to the Shimizu terminal in Japan.
The “Asia Endeavour” is scheduled to arrive at the Chevron-operated Gorgon plant on Barrow Island in Western Australia to lift a cargo after previously delivering to the Boryeong terminal in South Korea.
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