This week

Australian government takes exports hit
but forecasts window for LNG recovery

The Australian government said its liquefied natural gas export prices have fallen to record lows, due to the sharp decline in both oil-linked contract prices and Asian LNG spot values, though it sees this low-price and high-volume environment as a temporary situation.

Latest News
Statoil, the Norwegian energy company, said its Snøhvit LNG development project organization was “slowly but surely” being wound down before October 1 when the operations organization will…
The projected increased flow of LNG into the United States and the rise in natural gas commodity trading has prompted Lehman Brothers, one of the biggest US…
The LNG17 conference will be held in the US energy business capital, Houston, the American Gas Association announced.
Poyam, the cryogenic valves maker based in northwestern Spain, has announced further contracts wins from Woodside Petroleum of Australia and from the owners of a ship being…
US imports of LNG are expected to have increased by 47 percent in 2007, and are forecast to rise 19 percent in 2008, the US Energy Information…
Santos, the Australian energy company and LNG player, said it received a lot of interest from potential buyers from its planned Gladstone LNG project to be sourced…
As Gazprom, the Russian natural gas company and LNG developer, moves to build up new relationships in Asia, a US-based energy think-tank says in a new study…
Gazprom and Korea Gas Corp., the world’s single largest buyer of LNG,  have held talks on closer cooperation as South Korea attempts to boost its LNG supplies…
Woodside Petroleum, the Australian LNG producer that last week signed a supply deal with PetroChina, says it has also held talks with Taiwan’s Chinese Petroleum Corp. and…
Canaport LNG, the project in Canada that intends to send natural gas into the Northeast United States, said it would construct a third 160,000 cubic metres LNG…

Finland LNG station

July 3 (LNGJ) - Finnish state-owned energy company Gasum, which has widespread gas assets in the Nordic region, has opened a new filling station for LNG and biogas distribution at Lieto in southwest Finland. This is the country’s eighth natural gas filling station for trucks.

   Gasum has another 15 LNG and biogas stations in Sweden and one in Norway located in the capital Oslo. “Together with the gas filling station in Turku Harbor, the new station in Lieto strengthens the distribution of LNG and liquefied biogas for the needs of long-haul transport,” said Gasum.

China index rises

July 3 (LNGJ) - China's import price index for liquefied natural gas rose this week, according to data from the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX). The LNG index is for delivered cargoes, not including tax. The most recent quote for Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) delivered cargoes was given as 2,344 yuan ($331) per tonne, or $6.35 per million British thermal units, compared with the previous week’s price to June 24 of 2,308 yuan ($326) per tonne, or $6.25 per MMBtu.

   The index, jointly developed by a monitoring centre under the General Administration of Customs and the SHPGX, was launched on October 16, 2019, and offers CIF cargo price guidance for Chinese importers.

Brunei LNG contract

July 2 (LNG) - Brunei LNG has awarded a 10-year contract to local company SPHI Marine to supply three tugboats and one anchor-handling tug to support shipping operations at the Lumut facility. SPHI said the contract included a five-year extension option.

   The Brunei-owned and flagged vessels will replace the tugs of Dutch firm Kotug, which are currently servicing the LNG plant. Kotug said in a separate statement that it would support SPHI’s contract as part of a technical partnership deal signed between the two companies.

Algeria gas hand-over

July 1 (LNGJ) - Sonatrach, the Algerian state energy company and operator of two LNG export plants on the North African coast, signed its acceptance of the Touat gas project in southwest Algeria being passed to Groupement Touat Gaz (GTG), a joint venture between Sonatrach and Neptune Energy of the UK.

Operation of the facility had previously been in the hands of the project contractor, Spain’s Técnicas Reunidas, since the first gas was sent into the Algerian domestic gas pipeline network in September 2019. The Touat facility is located around 1,400 kilometres southwest of Algiers in the Sahara Desert and comprises 19 natural gas development wells, a gas treatment plant for gas and stabilised condensate with a gathering network with pipelines.

Shell updates on gas

June 30 (LNGJ) - Royal Dutch Shell said in an update to the second quarter 2020 outlook for its Integrated Gas division that production is expected to be between 880 and 910 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day and LNG liquefaction volumes are expected to be between 8.1 million tonnes and 8.5 million tonnes.

   “Trading and optimisation results are expected to be below average,” said Shell. “As previously communicated, more than 90 percent of our term contracts for LNG sales in 2019 were oil price linked with a price-lag of typically 3-6 months. Consequently, the impact of lower oil prices on LNG margins became more prominent from June onwards,” it added.

European prices flat

May 29 (LNGJ) - LNG is still heading for the UK even as European LNG price indicators remain flat. The UK’s National Balancing Point natural gas price was at the equivalent of $1.75 per million British thermal units while the main Continental European benchmark price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, was lower at $1.65 per MMBtu.

   The 147,200 cubic metres capacity vessel “Arctic Lady” is scheduled to arrive on July 1 at the UK Isle of Grain import terminal in Kent from the Equinor-operated Hammerfest plant in Northern Norway. The 261,700 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier, “Al Samriya”, will deliver a cargo on July 5 to the UK South Hook terminal in Milford Haven from Ras Laffan in Qatar.

Energy orders dry up

June 26 (LNGJ) - South Korean shipyards are expecting new firm LNG carrier orders after Qatar booked construction berths, but no new orders have been received in 2020 for oil and gas platforms or offshore facilities, reflecting the depressed state of the energy market. Hyundai Heavy Industries has received no orders for offshore facilities since October 2018 when it signed a $450 million deal with a US oil developer LLOG Exploration to build a floating production system, according to the latest data.

   Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. is also devoid of orders since December 2019 when Chevron Corp. booked a $200M semi-submersible floating production unit. The third main builder, Samsung Heavy Industries, has failed to clinch any new orders since April 2019. SHI has an order backlog of three offshore plants, one FPSO, one floating production platform and one floating LNG unit.

German terminal award

June 25 (LNGJ) - German LNG Terminal, the company developing an onshore facility at Brunsbuettel on the Elbe River south of Hamburg, has selected a Spanish-German joint venture comprising Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios SA and Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas SA of Spain and Bonn-based TGE Gas Engineering GmbH for the final phase of the engineering, procurement and construction contract award.

   “This final phase will consist of a comprehensive value-improvement exercise and detailed price actualization to make the project more cost efficient to conclude a binding EPC contract by the end of 2020,” said German LNG Terminal. “It is expected that the detailed design and engineering work, necessary to develop purchase orders of long-lead products, can then be started soon after the finalization of the contract,” it added. German LNG Terminal is a joint venture involving Dutch gas network company Gasunie BV, global Dutch storage company Royal Vopak and Germany’s Oiltanking GmbH, a subsidiary of Marquard & Bahls AG of Hamburg.

 

Polish LNG expands

June 25 (LNGJ) - Poland signed contracts worth $483 million to expand the LNG import terminal at Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea coast to 6 million tonnes per annum of capacity from the current 3.7 MTPA by 2023. The contract was signed on the Polish side by network operator Gaz-System and the ports of Szczecin and Swinoujscie and on the engineering side by the two contractors, Porr AG of Germany and Bonn-based European LNG specialists TGE Gas Engineering.

   State-run Poland Oil and Gas Company has said it does not intend to extend its long-term pipeline gas supply contract with Russia’s Gazprom beyond 2022 when it expires.

LNG-powered ships

June 24 (LNGJ) – The Chinese CIMC Raffles shipyard at Yantai in Shandong province has started building a second LNG-powered roll-on-roll-off ship for Sweden’s Wallenius Sol venture. The ice-class vessel is one of two on order and will have two Type-C LNG tanks with capacity of 685 cubic metres each.

   The Gothenburg-based Swedish shipping company is a joint venture formed by Wallenius Lines and Svenska Orient Linien. Once delivered in 2021, the two vessels will enter into service in the Baltic Sea trading routes.

Souki executive role

June 23 (LNG) - The board of Tellurian Inc., developer of the Driftwood LNG export project near Lake Charles in Louisiana, has named Charif Souki as Executive Chairman. Souki had been Tellurian’s non-executive Chairman since founding the company in February 2016 after he departed as Chief Executive of Cheniere Energy.

   “I am re-engaging to provide additional support to Tellurian, a company I co-founded with Martin Houston, using personal and friends and family funds,” said Souki. “I am 100 percent committed to Tellurian’s success and will be working alongside our President and Chief Executive Meg Gentle, Chief Operating Officer Keith Teague, and the most experienced LNG team in the industry to get our first-class project constructed,” he added.

Cruise ship on LNG

June 22 (LNGJ) –LNG supplier Nauticor, the Hamburg, Germany-based subsidiary of the Nordic energy company Gasum, has conducted the initial ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation for the newbuild cruise ship “Iona”. The bunkering operation was conducted by Gasum’s bunkering vessel “Kairos” at the German port of Bremerhaven. The operation was the first ever ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in Bremerhaven.

   The “Iona” is one of the world’s first LNG-fuelled cruise ships. The vessel is in the final outfitting phase at the German Meyer Werft shipyard. After the outfitting and sea trials have been completed, the vessel will join the fleet of P&O Cruises. The vessel is part of a series of vessels for the Carnival Corp. with their different brands.

Cargoes for North Asia

June 22 (LNGJ) - LNG cargoes are pointing at North Asia with deliveries for July. The 155,300 cubic metres capacity carrier “LNG Jurojin” will deliver a cargo on July 1 to the Japanese Yokkaichi terminal, operated by Jera Co. Inc., from the US Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, according to shipping data. The 174,100 cubic metres capacity vessel “Cesi Wenzhou” is scheduled to unload a cargo on July 4 at the Sinopec-owned onshore terminal in Tianjin in northeast China from the Australia-Pacific plant near Gladstone in Queensland.

   The 174,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Pan Europe” is due to arrive on July 10 at the Ningbo terminal in China owned by China National Offshore Oil Corp. from the Shell-operated Queensland Curtis plant in eastern Australia. The 174,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “GasLog Hong Kong” is scheduled to deliver a cargo on July 14 to the port of Tianjin from the Bonny Island plant in Nigeria.

Italian gas auctions

June 19 (LNGJ) - OLT Offshore LNG, the owner and manager of the “FSRU Toscana” floating LNG terminal deployed 22 kilometres off the Mediterranean coast of Italy, has published the dates of its annual and multi-year auctions without expression of interest.

   The auctions will be held from 1st to 3rd July 2020, as follows: 1st July 2020 – an auction for the allocation of the regasification capacity for the Gas Year 2020-2021; 2nd July 2020 - auction for the allocation of regas capacity for the Gas Year 2021-2022; 3rd July 2020 - auctions for the allocation of regas capacity for each Gas Year from 2022-2023 to 2033-2034. Further details are on OLT’s website www.oltoffshore.it

 

Corpus Christi jetty

June 19 (LNGJ) - Cheniere Energy’s Corpus Christi LNG export plant in Texas has been given permission by regulators to start exports from a second jetty. “We grant the request for Corpus Christi Liquefaction to introduce hazardous fluids and, upon successful completion of those activities within design specifications, commence service for export from the East Jetty facilities,” said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

   The LNG plant is located on La Quinta Channel on the northeast side of Corpus Christi Bay and the first stage development comprises two Trains, each with 4.5 million tonnes per annum of capacity and a second stage will see a third Train coming on stream in 2021. A future third-stage development comprises seven mid-scale Trains, adding around 10 MTPA to the output. 

China Index rises

June 18 (LNGJ) - China's import price index for liquefied natural gas rose in the week to June 17, according to data from the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX). The LNG index is for delivered cargoes, not including tax. The most recent quote for Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) delivered cargoes was given as 2,647 yuan ($374) per tonne, or $7.17 per million British thermal units, compared with the previous week’s price to June 10 of 2,060 yuan ($291) per tonne, or $5.58 per MMBtu.

   The index, jointly developed by a monitoring centre under the General Administration of Customs and the SHPGX, was launched on October 16, 2019, and offers CIF cargo price guidance for Chinese importers.

Charter rate quotes

June 18 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market were unchanged from last week. Rates were quoted at an average of between $33,000 per day and $31,000 per day West of Suez and at rates of between $31,000 per day and $29,000 per day East of Suez for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters were steady for the most modern vessels and were seen at rates of around $43,000 per day.

Cheniere gets term loan

June 17 (LNG) - Cheniere Energy, the largest US LNG exporter from its two plants at Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Corpus Christi in Texas, said it obtained commitments from 17 financial institutions for a $2.5 billion three-year delayed draw senior secured term loan with the ability to add further commitments from additional banks.

   Proceeds from borrowings under the Cheniere term loan, along with cash on the balance sheet, are expected to be used to repay existing notes. Cheniere said the term loan will bear interest at a rate of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus a margin based upon the applicable credit rating. The closing of the Cheniere loan is expected to occur this month. 

Tokyo-Hiroshima deal

June 16 (LNGJ) - The first joint LNG cargo of Tokyo Gas and Hiroshima Gas Co. transported by Tokyo LNG Tanker Co. from the Sakhalin plant in the Russian Far East has arrived at the Hatsukaichi LNG terminal of Hiroshima Gas. This is the first joint shipment based on the LNG Transportation Agreement between Hiroshima Gas, Tokyo Gas and Tokyo LNG Tanker signed in February 2020 for a period of eight years through 2027.

   The agreement was made possible with the cooperation of Sakhalin Energy, a long-term supplier to Hiroshima Gas and Tokyo Gas. “Hiroshima Gas and Tokyo Gas will continue to provide a stable supply of city gas and aim to further the usage of natural gas thorough the realization of a stable supply of energy that will be beneficial for the customers of both companies,” they said.

Peru LNG cargoes

June 15 (LNGJ) - The Peru LNG plant at Pampa Melchorita directed most of its five cargoes to North Asia in May with only one being delivered to the Manzanillo terminal on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The ships that lifted cargoes included the 155,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Solaris”, the 155,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “Gaslog Seattle” and the 173,400 cubic metres capacity carrier “Valencia Knutsen”. They headed for China or South Korea. PeruPetro said the cargoes were priced on the Japan-Korea Marker at between $2.063 per million British thermal units and $2.068 per MMBtu.

China bunker plan

June 12 (LNGJ) – An accord has been signed for joint development of LNG bunkering facilities at the Yantian deepwater port near Shenzhen city in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. The signatories to the joint venture agreement include the Shenzhen municipality, Chinese energy major PetroChina, the Shenzhen Gas Group and Yantian Port.

   In addition to LNG storage at Yantian, the project also involves the construction of LNG bunkering vessels for ship-to-ship operations. “The long-term goal of the project is to supply 2 million tonnes per annum of LNG bunker fuel,” said a statement.

Charter rates steady

June 11 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market are little changed over the past week. Rates were quoted at an average of between $33,000 per day and $31,000 per day West of Suez and at rates of between $31,000 per day and $29,000 per day East of Suez for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters were steady for the most modern vessels and were seen at rates of around $43,000 per day.

European gas price stalls

June 10 (LNGJ) - Two Qatari LNG cargoes are headed for the UK as the European natural gas price recovery stalls. The 217,000 cubic metres capacity vessel, the “Al Kharsaah”, is scheduled to arrive on June 15 at the UK Dragon terminal in Milford Haven with a Qatargas cargo. The 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier, the “Bu Samara”, is then due on June 18 with a Qatari shipment for the South Hook facility in the Welsh port.

   LNG cargoes are still pointing at the UK and Europe despite the low-price environment. The UK’s National Balancing Point natural gas price fell to the equivalent of $1.50 per million British thermal units from $1.75 per MMBtu the previous day. The Continental European benchmark price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, dropped to the equivalent of $1.60 per MMBtu from $1.90 per MMBtu.

GAIL has rating cut

June 9 (LNGJ) - The Indian LNG importer, Gas Authority of India, has had its credit rating cut by US agency Moody’s Investors Service by one notch from “Baa2” to “Baa3”. Indian pipeline network operator GAIL is also tolling contract holder at the Cove Point LNG export plant in the US state of Maryland.

   “The revision in the credit rating was done as Moody’s has revised the rating of various Government-related issuers, including that of GAIL (India) Limited in line with the revision of India’s sovereign rating from ‘Baa2’ to ‘Baa3’ by Moody’s,” said GAIL in a statement.

Total LNG ship aims

June 8 (LNGJ) - French energy major Total has joined the “Getting to Zero Coalition” for shipping launched at the last United Nations climate summit. It comprises over 120 organisations and has been endorsed by governments of 14 countries, including France and the UK. Total said it was already actively working on improving the environmental footprint of the shipping industry through the development of LNG bunkering. It has also recently announced the long-term chartering of two LNG-propelled Very Large Crude Carriers.

   “As a major energy player, Total is already developing cleaner fuels for the maritime industry,” said Patrick Pouyanné, President and Chief Executive of Total. “We want to push innovation and foster collective actions with all the stakeholders,” he added.

US exports decline

June 5 (LNGJ) - The weekly US LNG shipments declined to 10 cargoes this week compared with 12 in the previous week. Four cargoes left Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, while two departed from Cheniere’s Corpus Christi facility in Texas and two from Sempra Energy’s Cameron facility in Louisiana. At the three other plants, one departed from the Freeport plant in Texas, one from Cove Point in Maryland and none from the Elba Island plant in Georgia, according to the Energy Information Administration.

UK Qatari imports

June 4 (LNGJ) - Two Qatari Q-Flex carriers with 210,000 cubic metres capacity are scheduled to deliver shipments to the UK South Hook terminal at Milford Haven in the next week. The vessel “Al Saad” will discharge its cargo on June 8 and the carrier “Al Nuaman” will berth on June 10.

The cargoes are headed for the UK as the nation’s National Balancing Point natural gas price begins to rise from record lows. It was last at the equivalent of $1.55 per million British thermal units. The Continental European benchmark gas price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, was higher at the equivalent of $1.75 per MMBtu.

Spot charters rates

June 4 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market were flat over the past week. Rates were quoted at an average of between $33,000 per day and $31,000 per day West of Suez and at rates of between $31,000 per day and $29,000 per day East of Suez for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters were steady for the most modern vessels and were seen at rates of around $43,000 per day.

China LNG Index rises

June 3 (LNGJ) - China's import price index for liquefied natural gas rose in the week to June 3, according to data from the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX). The LNG index is for delivered cargoes, not including tax. The most recent quote for Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) delivered cargoes was given as 2,586 yuan ($363) per tonne, or $7.06 per million British thermal units, compared with the previous week’s price of 2,184 yuan ($307) per tonne, or $5.96 per MMBtu.

   The index, jointly developed by a monitoring centre under the General Administration of Customs and the SHPGX, was launched on October 16, 2019, and offers CIF cargo price guidance for Chinese importers.

Gazprom deal for Greeks

June 2 (LNGJ) - Russian pipeline natural gas company Gazprom has signed a long- term contract to supply the Greek group, Mytilineos S.A. Gazprom last year delivered 588 million cubic metres of gas to Mytilineos, Greece’s largest private gas importer.

   “This long-term contract will enhance the competitiveness of Mytilineos in the region's gas market and will make a substantial contribution to maximizing the efficiency of our industrial and power assets,” said Evangelos Mytilineos, Chairman and Chief Executive of Mytilineos. The cooperation between Gazprom and Mytilineos began in 2017 on the basis of short-term contracts and the new agreement will run from 2020 to 2030. 

South Korea LNG loan

June 1 (LNGJ) - The Korea Development Bank said it lent 480 billion Korean won ($388M) along with several other banks to the South Korean shipyard, Hyundai Heavy Industries, as part of its pro-environment “green loans” programme. The other banks involved included UK-based HSBC and ICBC, a KDB affiliate.

   “Green loans usually are offered to finance eco-friendly projects, such as LNG carriers, renewable energies and high-efficient energies,” said a statement. Hyundai Heavy will use the funds from the loan to develop technologies for LNG carriers.

Norwegian LNG restart

May 29 (LNGJ) - Equinor of Norway said it would restart Europe’s only baseload LNG export plant at Hammerfest on June 18 after scheduled maintenance of several weeks has been completed. Equinor’s liquefaction plant shut-down reduced natural gas production by 18 million cubic metres per day from the Snohvit feed-gas field.

   The single-Train Hammerfest plant supplies cargoes to LNG import terminals such as those in Spain and in northwest Europe from the Netherlands to Lithuania. Equinor has 37 percent of the Snohvit field and the LNG plant and the other partners include French major Total and Germany’s Wintershall Dea. 

LNG charter rates steady

May 28 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market were steady. Rates were quoted at an average of between $33,000 per day and $30,000 per day West of Suez and at rates of between $32,000 per day and $29,000 per day East of Suez for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters were steady for the most modern vessels and were seen at rates of around $43,000 per day.

   Brokers said West of Suez activity included a handful of fixtures and free-on-board transactions. However, the market in the West and East remained on the long side with a combination of owner-controlled ships and trader relets available throughout June. “There is still a slightly bearish sentiment as a consequence,” said one broker report. 

LNG developer notes

May 27 (LNGJ) - Pembina Pipeline Corp. of Canada has agreed to issue $500 million of senior unsecured medium-term notes in relation to the Cochin Pipeline system and as it pursues development projects such as the Jordan Cove LNG export project in the northwest US state of Oregon.

   “Closing of the offering is expected to occur on May 28, 2020 and the net proceeds are intended to be used to repay indebtedness of the company,” said Pembina. US regulators had voted 2-1 in favour of Pembina’s Jordan Cove LNG project in March 2020, despite the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denying a water quality certification.

June LNG for UK

May 26 (LNGJ) - The 217,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Huwaila” will deliver the UK’s first June LNG cargo on June 2 when it berths at the South Hook terminal in Milford Haven in Wales. European natural gas prices have continued to decline with the UK National Balancing Point price last at the equivalent $1.15 per million British thermal units, while the Continental European benchmark gas price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, is higher at the equivalent of $1.50 per MMBtu.

European gas weakness

May 26 (LNG) – European natural gas prices have continued to decline with the UK National Balancing Point price last at the equivalent $1.15 per million British thermal units, while the Continental European benchmark, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility price, was at the equivalent of $1.50 per MMBtu. The final May cargo to arrive in the UK will be on May 31 when the 216,200 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Sahla” berths at the UK South Hook terminal in Milford Haven with a shipment from Qatar.

US shipments decline

May 22 (LNGJ) - The weekly US LNG shipments declined for a second week to 10 cargoes this week compared with 11 in the previous week. Four cargoes left Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, while one departed from Cheniere’s Corpus Christi facility in Texas and three from Sempra Energy’s Cameron facility in Louisiana. At the three other plants, one departed from the Freeport plant in Texas, one from Cove Point in Maryland and none from the Elba Island plant in Georgia, according to the Energy Information Administration.

European gas drops again

May 21 (LNG) - The next two UK LNG deliveries are on May 23 and May 27 to the South Hook import terminal in Milford Haven The first cargo will be discharged from the 216,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex “Tembek” and the second from the 266,00 cubic metres capacity carrier “Al Dafna”. European natural gas prices have again fallen with the UK National Balancing Point at its lowest level of the year at the equivalent of $1.35 per million British thermal units. The Continental European benchmark, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility price, was also down to the equivalent of $1.45 per MMBtu.

KBR Kazakhstan deal

May 20 (LNG) - LNG and energy engineering company, KBR of the US, has signed a joint venture agreement with NIPIneftegas JSC to establish a new engineering and support services company in Kazakhstan, the former Soviet Republic which is a big supplier of pipeline natural gas to China.

   “With support from KBR and NIPIneftegas, the venture called KBR-NIPILLP, will provide engineering, procurement, design and related services for projects across the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors, within the Republic of Kazakhstan,” said a statement. Kazakhstan supplied 7.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas to China last year and plans to gradually increase this total to 10 Bcm per annum. 

European prices drop

May 19 (LNGJ) - The UK benchmark natural gas price has dropped to its lowest level of the year to be at the equivalent of $1.40 per million British thermal units, around the same mark as US Marcellus shale gas. The Continental European benchmark, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility price, was also falling and was last at the equivalent of $1.55 per MMBtu.

   UK natural gas supply flows on May 19 amounted to 184.65 million cubic metres and current demand was 187.57 mcm, according to National Grid data. Supply flows at gas grid connections near the UK’s LNG terminals at Milford Haven in Wales and the Isle of Grain, southeast of London, were at 49.95 mcm for South Hook LNG and Dragon LNG and 3.00 mcm for the Grain LNG terminal.

Total’s $557M deal

May 18 (LNG) - Total has strengthened its positions in power generation and the supply of electricity and natural gas in Spain with the acquisition from Energías de Portugal (EDP) of its portfolio of 2.5 million residential customers and two combined-cycle gas-fired power plants with a capacity of nearly 850 megawatts.

   “The transaction, concluded with EDP on the basis of a price of €515 ($557M) in value, remains subject to preconditions, including the approval of the competent authorities, and should be finalized by the end of 2020,” said Total.

   Total now also enters the Spanish residential market and becomes the country's fourth-largest supplier of gas and electricity with residential market shares of 12 percent and 6 percent respectively. “This deal allows Total to become one of the main players in the energy market in Spain, from the import of LNG to the production and sale of electricity, based on renewables and gas,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive.

Gazoduq project plans

May 18 (LNGJ) - The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada said it was making funding available through its programme to assist the public and Indigenous groups and First Nations to take part in the impact assessment for the proposed Gazoduq Project, a natural gas pipeline of 780 kilometres to be laid between northeast Ontario and Saguenay in Quebec to connect to an LNG export plant.

   Under the Impact Assessment Act, the review will be carried out by the agency in collaboration with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). “Funding is available for eligible individuals and groups to assist their participation in upcoming steps of the integrated assessment,” it said. Funding applications received by June 30, 2020, will be considered.

QGTC LNG vessels

May 15 (LNGJ) - Qatar Gas Transport Co. said it started the second phase of its fleet management transition from Shell Shipping and Maritime to its own management. The 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max LNG carrier “Al Mayeda” is the first of seven vessels that will pass into the management of QGTC as part of a phased changeover. Shell and QCTC completed the first phase of the management changes in 2017 involving 10 vessels. After completion of the second phase by the end of 2020, QGTC’s managed fleet will rise to 25 vessels out of which four are liquefied petroleum gas carriers.

UK and Dutch cargoes

May 14 (LNGJ) - The Dutch Gate terminal in Rotterdam will receive a Russian LNG shipment delivered on May 17 by the 172,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Eduard Toll” from the Yamal plant in Siberia as the Dutch Title Transfer Facility European natural gas price remained flat at the equivalent of $1.60 per million British thermal units.

   Another LNG cargo will be delivered to the UK South Hook terminal in Milford Haven on May 21 onboard the 210,100 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier, the “Al Safliya”, from Ras Laffan in Qatar with the UK benchmark National Balancing Point price lower than the Dutch TTF at $1.50 per MMBtu.

Asian LNG spot edges up

May 13 (LNGJ) - Asian LNG spot prices in the form of the Japan-Korea Marker from Platts are showing signs of partial recovery with the June cargoes edging higher to $2.115 per million British thermal units and July cargoes at $2.450 per MMBtu. The all-time JKM low was recently under $2.00 per MMBtu and traders may be heartened by the October JKM moving above $3.000 per MMBtu level and December 2020 being at $4.235 per MMBtu.

   Among LNG carriers heading for Asia with deliveries are the 217,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Kharsaah”, scheduled to deliver a contract shipment on May 15 to the Thai import terminal at Map Ta Phut. The 173,400 cubic metres capacity vessel “Woodside Rees Withers” was due to arrive on May 18 at the Pyeongtaek terminal in South Korea with a shipment from Wheatstone LNG in Western Australia. The 165,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Diamond Gas Orchid” is scheduled to discharge a US cargo on May 25 at the Shimizu Sodeshi import terminal in Japan from Cameron LNG in Louisiana.

UK and Asia deliveries

May 12 (LNGJ) - At least three LNG cargoes are being delivered to the UK in the next week. The 155,000 cubic metres capacity “British Sapphire” was unloading a shipment on May 12 at the UK Isle of Grain terminal in Kent from the Point Fortin plant in Trinidad. Two Qatargas cargoes were then due at the UK South Hook terminal in Milford Haven. The 216,200 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Gharrafa” will unload on May 15 at South Hook and the 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max vessel “Al Mafyar” was scheduled to berth on May 18.

   The cargoes were heading for the UK as European natural gas prices were still at low levels. The UK National Balancing Point natural gas price fell again this week to $1.65 per million British thermal units while Continental Europe’s Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) price was higher than the NBP at $2.05 per MMBtu.

   Asian spot prices for June were at around $2.05 per MMBtu while oil-linked contract prices were at $6 per MMBtu and above. Among the many shipments on the water, the 160,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “Asia Vision” was scheduled to deliver a cargo on May 25 to the Map Ta Phut terminal in Thailand from Wheatstone LNG in Western Australia. The 174,000 cubic metres capacity “GasLog Gibraltar” was due to unload a US shipment at India’s Dahej terminal on May 28 from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana.

China LNG index drops

May 11 (LNGJ) - China's import price index for liquefied natural gas dropped in the week ending May 8, according to data from the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX). The LNG index is for delivered cargoes, not including tax. The most recent quote for Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) delivered cargoes was given as 2,504 yuan ($353) per tonne, or $6.84 per million British thermal units, compared with the previous week’s price of 2,894 yuan ($408) per tonne, or $7.91 per MMBtu.

The index, jointly developed by a monitoring centre under the General Administration of Customs and the SHPGX, was launched on October 16, 2019, and offers CIF cargo price guidance for Chinese importers.

US cargoes increase

May 8 (LNGJ) - The weekly US LNG shipments increased to 15 cargoes this week compared with 11 in the previous week. Six cargoes left Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, while three departed from Cheniere’s Corpus Christi facility in Texas and three from Sempra Energy’s Cameron facility in Louisiana. At the three other plants, two departed from the Freeport plant in Texas, one from Cove Point in Maryland and none from the newest facility, the Elba Island plant in Georgia, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Shipping rates steady

May 7 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market were little changed over the past week. Rates were quoted at an average of between $37,000 per day and $33,000 per day West of Suez and at rates of between $34,000 per day and $30,000 per day East of Suez for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters were steady for the most modern vessels and were seen at rates of around $44,000 per day.

Hammerfest LNG pause

May 6 (LNGJ) - Equinor of Norway will close Europe’s only baseload LNG export plant at Hammerfest from mid-May for two weeks of scheduled maintenance. Equinor said the liquefaction plant shut-down would reduce natural gas production by 18 million cubic metres per day from the Snohvit feed-gas field.

   The single-Train Hammerfest plant supplies cargoes to LNG import terminals such as those in Spain and in northwest Europe from the Netherlands to Lithuania. Equinor has 37 percent of the Snohvit field and the LNG plant and the other partners include French major Total and Germany’s Wintershall Dea.