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Asia spot LNG: March falls 10 cents over the week to close at $4.95/MMBtu

Singapore — Platts JKM for LNG cargoes delivered in March fell to $4.95/MMBtu Friday, down 10 cents from the previous Friday, as offers to North Asia held steady at or above the $5/MMBtu level.

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In North Asia, South Korea's Komipo issued a buy tender Monday for a partial 2.07-2.33 TBtu LNG cargo for early March delivery. The cargo is scheduled be delivered over March 6-9 at the Gwangyang LNG terminal on a DES basis, tender documents showed.

The most recent deal in North Asia was done earlier this week by Japan's Tohoku Electric at or below $5/MMBtu through a closed buy tender, various sources said.

Aside from that deal, other buyers in North Asia continued to struggle with high inventories, despite colder temperatures increasing heating demand from their downstream users.

But most of the demand remained on the South Asian buyers. In Pakistan, a buy tender from PSO was issued over the last weekend on January 23, seeking five LNG cargoes for delivery over March to April on a DES basis.

The Pakistani demand comes in addition to other demand from the region, as India's GAIL had awarded a tender with validity till January 27 to buy one February and one March cargo.

Various sources said that BG sold the February cargo to Gail at $5-$5.10/MMBtu, while Qatari producer Rasgas had sold the March cargo between $4.40-4.50/MMBtu.

However, various sources questioned whether these prices were the result of bilateral negotiations done directly between Gail and Rasgas, as no other suppliers were heard willing to settle for a price in the mid-$4s/MMBtu for March delivery to India.

On the supply side, an announcement in the middle of the week that Angola LNG has commenced the recommissioning of the LNG export plant, put some early pressure on prices, with the possibility of more uncommitted volumes becoming available in the Atlantic.

Indonesia's Pertamina had also closed a tender Thursday offering up to five cargoes for loading over March-May, with validity until February 26.

However, late reports of production problems at Russia's Sakhalin, the result of a power problem in the facility's liquefaction plant on Thursday, resulted in growing uncertainty over what volumes would have to be replaced from the project in the spot market.

Meanwhile, a Singapore-based source said that the uncertainty was giving strong support to the offers on Friday, as those selling cargoes were evaluating the effects of the outage on the Asian supply demand picture.

In shipping, the Clean Planet, which had earlier loaded the second cargo from Australia Pacific LNG without it being sold, had veered sharply to the East on January 22, cFlow, Platts trade flow software, showed.

Since then, sources have said that BP had bought the floating APLNG cargo from ConocoPhillips, sold January 21-22, at around $5/MMBtu under BP's tender term February commitment to Mexico's CFE.

--Max Gostelow,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,