June 29, 2018 / 4:45 AM / 4 months ago

GLOBAL LNG-Asian prices fall for a second week as trading slows; supply improves

* Quiet trading week amid Washington gas conference

* Opening of northern sea route could pressure prices

* Warm temperatures in North Asia could stem losses

By Jessica Jaganathan

SINGAPORE, June 29 (Reuters) - Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices fell for a second consecutive week as trading slowed with a number of market participants attending a major trade conference and amid a slow down in buying from China.

Spot prices for August LNG-AS delivery in Asia fell to $10.30 per million British thermal units (Btu), down 30 cents from the previous week, four industry sources said.

Interest for September cargoes have also started and are at similar levels to August, they added.

Trading slowed this week as executives globally gathered in Washington D.C. for the triennial World Gas Conference, the sources said.

Improving LNG supply for August versus July and a slowdown in purchases by Chinese traders also contributed to the lower prices this week.

An opening in the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to Asia could introduce more Russian supplies to North Asia and in turn pressure prices down, though rapidly declining Asian prices could close the arbitrage flow, trade sources said.

The $27 billion Yamal LNG plant developed by Russia’s Novatek and France’s Total has shipped a cargo using the LNG tanker Vladimir Rusanov through the NSR for the first time.

The tanker is heading to Jiangsu in China, according to Eikon shiptracking data. Two more cargoes have also been sold into Asia, an industry source said.

The passageway is important for Yamal because it cuts shipping times to its main customers in Asia by nearly half - to 15 days - and thus saving time and Suez Canal fees incurred on the westward route.

On the demand side, higher than average temperatures are expected in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing over the next two weeks and could boost also boost demand for LNG in the power sector, two traders said.

Chinese buyers have so far bought four cargoes for delivery in August in the spot market, though the purchases were largely done last week, traders said. They also bought cargoes for winter earlier than usual, they added.

TENDERS AND DEALS

Several buy tenders are keeping spot prices supported, two trade sources said.

Pakistan LNG is seeking five LNG cargoes for delivery in September and October, while Mexico’s CFE and Jordan’s NEPCO are each seeking two cargoes for July to August.

On the sell side, Indonesia’s Donggi Senoro LNG has offered a cargo for loading in the second-half of August, the traders said.

Malaysia’s Petronas has sold a cargo for Aug. 24 loading at $9.60 per million Btu on a free-on-board basis, one of them said. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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