* Supply tight as buyers firm up bids
* Angola LNG enters maintenance, resumes in Dec
* South Korea dodges spot market with Bontang supply
* Singapore's Pavillion locks in 0.5 mln tonne supply deal
By Oleg Vukmanovic and Rebekah Kebede
LONDON/PERTH, Nov 1 Asian liquefied natural gas
(LNG) prices rose to $17.50 per million British thermal units
(mmBtu) this week as utility buying, a new tender in Argentina
and a full shutdown at Angola's export plant fuelled gains.
Prices rose from around $17.15/mmBtu last week.
"Supply is looking tight for the winter," one
Singapore-based trade source said.
Angola, which exported its fifth ever cargo to Japan earlier
this month, has finally entered full maintenance after repeated
delays. "The sales price of its fifth shipment was north of
$17/mmBtu," a trader said.
The 5.2 million tonne/year plant is due to come back from
maintenance in December so that stakeholders do not miss out on
peak winter price gains, industry sources said. A second
maintenance is due to take effect at the plant in July, 2014.
The winner of PetroChina's tender for four cargoes for
delivery in December-March remains uncertain.
The speed with which it picked a winner has fuelled
speculation that one of PetroChina's long-term suppliers,
possibly Qatar or an offtaker there, will deliver the fuel.
One source said the buyer was looking to fill additional
Current high spot prices make cargoes under oil-linked
long-term contracts seem increasingly attractive and buyers such
as South Korea are leaning heavily on these volumes, avoiding
where possible spot markets.
State-run buyer Kogas is taking delivery of more LNG from
Indonesia's Bontang plant where output has outpaced production
programs set at the end of 2012.
Kogas is also taking between 6-10 additional cargoes owed to
it from when Bontang was unable to meet its contracted
Japan's LNG imports fell 7.7 percent in September, although
industry sources report sporadic cargo purchases from utilities
Singapore's Pavilion Energy this week signed up its first
long-term supply for 0.5 million tonnes per year with a major
European oil and gas multinational, it said at an industry
conference. Traders said Total was the supplier.
Pavillion also added that it would deliver its first LNG
cargo into Asia by February.
Qatargas delivered the first commissioning cargo of LNG to
China's new Zhuhai LNG terminal last week.
China faces possible supply shortages as the coldest months
of December and January draw near, according to its top planning
agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),
which may force China to import more spot LNG cargoes to meet
Osaka Gas Co, Japan's second-largest supplier of
city gas, may also step up LNG imports from Russia to feed
Spain's Gas Natural became the second ever buyer after
China's CNOOC of long-term volumes from the Novatek-operated
Yamal LNG export facility in the Russian Arctic.
The firm signed a deal to buy 2.5 million tonnes/year, it
said, with industry sources adding the offtake period was for 20
years. It did not say how the cargoes would be priced, although
CNOOC's volumes are linked to Brent crude oil.
In Europe, the Gate import terminal in the Netherlands is in
the process of completing its firth re-export from the terminal
aboard the Vitol-chartered Excel tanker.
Spanish terminals meanwhile are continuing to re-load
cargoes onto tankers for onward delivery to Asia or South
Argentina's state-run energy firm YPF launched a tender to
buy two dozen additional LNG cargoes for delivery in 2014,
industry and trade sources said.
Maintenance at Algeria's new Skikda LNG production train was
on-track to have ended and for production to resume by the start
of November. It was not possible to confirm whether output had