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UK LNG stocks fall at 46-month low on weak delivery schedule

London — The amount of natural gas equivalent held in tank in the UK's three LNG regasification terminals fell to the lowest since March 2013 over the weekend as a weak delivery schedule led to stocks running low despite poor regas rates, data from National Grid showed Tuesday.

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LNG stocks combined began Monday's gas day at 429 million cu m of natural gas equivalent, below the levels recorded in March/April last year and falling further towards the low seen 46 months ago.

Stock levels were split between Isle of Grain, South Hook, and Dragon at 187 million cu m (32% of capacity), 171 million cu m (35%), and 71 million cu m (37%), respectively, National Grid data showed.

Total LNG stock levels were less than half the 2017-to-date high of 918 million cu m from early January and over 200 million cu m shy of the five-year average of 642 million cu m.

The unseasonably low stock levels have come despite regasification having been at low levels this winter, as deliveries of LNG into the UK have been much lower this winter compared with previous seasons amid higher pricing and firmer spot demand elsewhere.

Between October 1 and January 31, nine LNG tankers delivered LNG into the UK, with South Hook receiving six vessels from Qatar, Isle of Grain receiving three -- two from Qatar, one from Nigeria -- and Dragon none.

During the first four months of the Winter 2015-16 delivery period, South Hook received 30 vessels from Qatar alone. Isle of Grain received six -- three from Algeria and one each from Norway, Qatar, and Trinidad & Tobago -- and Dragon two Qatari deliveries.

This has been countered by regas levels being well down this winter compared with previous winters.

Regas levels this winter have totaled 1.06 Bcm, more than 75% lower year-on-year and on course for the lowest total for a winter-delivery period this decade.

Moreover, Isle of Grain has reloaded three LNG tankers this winter -- one each to Belgium, South Korea and Turkey -- after having begun reloading operations last March, further contributing to the weaker regas levels.

Stock levels at Isle of Grain were expected to be boosted in the short term with the expected arrivals of the Cadiz Knutsen from the Dominican Republic and the Gallina from Peru, though no Qatari LNG tankers are confirmed as UK arrivals for the remainder of the month, meaning South Hook stocks could slide further.

--Gary Hornby,
--Edited by Dan Lalor,