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Cove Point Liquefaction starts back up following three weeks of maintenance


Maryland facility supplies Gail India, Japanese buyers

Surge in global gas prices incentivizing US exports

Cove Point Liquefaction in Maryland returned to service Oct. 12 following three weeks of scheduled maintenance at the LNG export terminal, according to an electronically-filed notice to customers.

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Feedgas demand rose to 717 MMcf/d on Oct. 12, based on nominations for the morning cycle, after being near zero since work began on Sept. 20, S&P Global Platts Analytics data shows. The duration of the turnaround was similar to when the facility underwent annual maintenance in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Berkshire Hathaway-operated Cove Point has long-term agreements to supply LNG to Gail India and a joint venture of Japan's Sumitomo and Tokyo Gas.

Except for brief weather and maintenance interruptions, US LNG export terminals have been running near full dispatch for months amid strong global demand and tight supplies – factors that have driven prices in end-user markets to record levels.

The extremely tight gas market has seen Platts JKM, the benchmark price for spot-traded LNG deliveries to Northeast Asia, briefly rise above $50/MMBtu before moderating but still remaining at an ultra-high level. Together with the Dutch TTF in Europe recently breaking $115/MWh, there has been a significant impact on other markets as well.

The JKM for November was assessed at $34.002/MMBtu on Oct. 12. Platts assessed the first half of November at $33.975/MMBtu and the second half of November at $34.028/MMBtu, with a wider intra-month contango structure of 5.3 cents/MMBtu, compared with 2.2 cents/MMBtu on Oct. 11.

For Atlantic cargoes, the spread between the Platts LNG FOB Gulf Coast Marker and the US Henry Hub has averaged over $21/MMBtu over the previous six months.

The trajectory of global gas prices is incentivizing fuel switching away from gas, to coal and liquids. Platts Analytics expects LNG prices to remain volatile through the winter.