February 3, 2017 / 6:01 PM / 2 years ago

GLOBAL LNG-Asia prices hit parity with British gas benchmark

MILAN/SINGAPORE, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for LNG delivery in March fell to parity with European gas benchmarks on Friday, while importers in India, Thailand and Mexico finalised purchases amid healthy supply.

Traders said Asian prices for March delivery fell 25 cents to about $7.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), matching the UK’s National Balancing Point trading hub levels.

Qatar’s liquefaction Train 7 - previously idled for maintenance - resumed production on Friday, raising the possibility of more frequent deliveries to Britain from the second-half of March and April, one trader said.

However, other sources told Reuters that Train 7 may be due to shut down again in March.

Meanwhile, Australia’s AP LNG project is expected to idle half a train’s output towards the end of February.

But output from the giant Gorgon project was steady, with plant operator Chevron readying to bring a third production line on-stream early in the second-quarter.

Despite colder-than-average forecasts for the next 45-days in South Korea’s capital Seoul, which is also a major LNG importer, traders said a combination of pre-Christmas buying, stored reserves and returning nuclear reactors has kept Korea Gas Corp out of the spot market.

Traders said they had heard Gail India had bought supplies in the low $8 per mmBtu range, while Thailand’s PTT bought a cargo in the high $7 per mmBtu level, possibly from Chevron.

In the Atlantic, Vitol bought a tender cargo from Angola for delivery to Europe, but looks to be in talks to swap it for a different destination, possibly Egypt, one trader said.

Mexico also purchased two cargoes for February delivery. Steady cargo demand was seen coming from Spain.

Around six shipments are due to arrive at the Fos terminal in southern France over the coming weeks, alleviating tight gas markets which followed an outage at an Algerian export facility. (Editing by Alexander Smith)

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