* Korea Gas Corp tender expected to net 10 cargoes -traders
* Market at odds over pricing
* Japan, China, Portugal, Spain, India show demand
* Immediate bullish signs outweigh concerns over Egypt
By Oleg Vukmanovic
LONDON, April 21 Asian spot LNG prices jumped
this week, buoyed by hopes Korea Gas Corp's new tender would
match past buying sprees and by emerging demand from China and
Spot prices for June delivery rose to $5.70 per million
British thermal units (mmBtu), a 20 cent jump over last week,
but traders cited sharply divergent views on pricing, saying the
disagreements contributed to market inertia.
Still, Korea Gas Corp's Thursday tender for June and July
supply - set to close on April 26 - immediately
stirred up bullish offers, rescuing an otherwise muted trading
The last time Kogas entered the market to buy two cargoes in
December 2016, it ended up awarding up to 11.
That was only one of a number of factors contributing to LNG
snapping a 15-week losing streak, with Japan's Tohoku Electric
seeking a May/June cargo alongside trading giant JERA's limited
spot needs, Portugal's EDP seeking a June/July cargo, plus
demand from Spain, India and China.
But a resumption in production at two Australian LNG export
plants -- Chevron's Gorgon and Woodside's North
West Shelf -- left the rationale for a price rebound less clear.
Demand, even in top-tier buyer Japan, is lacklustre and
weather forecasts do not support a dramatic shift any time soon.
Nigeria and Russia, meanwhile, have both approached the market
with new supply.
"The market in Asia is basically anywhere between
$5.50-$5.80, its pretty wide and nobody exactly knows ...
there's a lot of inertia," one trading source said.
So far jitters over Egypt's nascent programme of cargo
deferments -- a potentially bearish signal for global markets --
have taken a back seat to more immediate developments, such as
Kogas purchases, but Egypt could come to dominate thinking once
the scale of its programme becomes clear.
Surging production from new gas fields is squeezing out
demand for costly foreign imports, leading Egypt to consider
deferring as many as 25 shipments this year and many more in
2018, according to various sources.
Yet only a small portion of deferrals have actually been
agreed with Egypt's LNG suppliers so far. Most of these are
trading houses but some are state-backed energy companies.
Furthermore, one trader said some sellers had hoarded supply
for May in anticipation of supply disruptions that never came.
"We will see how sellers react in June, given they lost
value in May," the trader said, implying potential for supply
In the Atlantic, demand continued to emerge from utilities
in Spain, driven by low hydroelectric reserves, faltering
renewables output and nuclear issues.
Spanish bids for LNG ranged from flat to UK gas hub prices
to a 10 cent premium in some cases, several sources said.
(Aditional reporting by Mark Tay in Singaopre; Editing by David