PERTH Dec 19 Asian spot LNG prices fell back to
the high $18 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week
in thin trade as buyers in Asia wrapped up winter buying.
Asian LNG prices fell to around $18.75 per mmBtu
during the past week, market sources said.
Prices are now expected to continue lower, with prices for
the end of the first quarter next year seen in the $16 per mmBtu
Japan, the world's largest importer of LNG, imported 8.3
percent more LNG in November compared with the previous year,
according to customs data, as it continues to struggle to make
up for shut nuclear reactors.
The country is currently operating without nuclear power
after the September shut down of its last two operating nuclear
reactors in the wake of the Fukushima crisis. It is only the
second time since the 1970s that Japan, which normally gets
around a third of its power from nuclear reactors, has been
without nuclear power.
South Korea's LNG imports rose 9.7 percent from year-ago
levels in November as the world's second largest importer of LNG
uses the fuel to compensate for nuclear reactors shut due to a
Six of South Korea's 23 nuclear reactors are currently
offline, and the timing of their restarts is still unclear.
In Europe, cold weather forced Turkey to snap up two LNG
cargoes this week, adding to five it has already ordered from
On the supply side, BG Group said its Queensland
Curtis Island coal seam gas to LNG plant in Australia was on
track to start selling LNG next year after it delivered gas to a
liquefaction terminal for the first time.
The plant is one of just two LNG plants that is due to come
online in Asia Pacific 2014, with Exxon's PNG LNG being
Global LNG exports in 2013 are set to exceed the 238.4
million tonnes seen last year as increased exports from Qatar,
Yemen, Malaysia, and Pluto LNG offset declined in Nigeria and
Egypt, according to Waterborne LNG analysts.