SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) were steady this week as spot demand from Japanese buyers stockpiling ahead of winter soaked up supply offered from Australia and Malaysia.
Spot prices for October delivery to Northeast Asia are estimated to be about $4.70 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), steady from last week, said several sources that participate in the market.
Japan’s Tohoku Electric likely bought a cargo for delivery over Oct. 16 to 20 at $4.60 to $4.70 per mmBtu, an industry source said, though this could not immediately be confirmed.
Japanese buyers have been seeking cargoes in the spot market for fourth quarter delivery as they take advantage of low prices and as hot weather likely recently drew down inventories, said several industry sources.
Japan’s Hokuriku Electric bought a cargo for delivery in second half of November from Malaysia’s Petronas, sources said.
The utility started importing LNG late last year and has been buying cargoes from Petronas, though its requirements have not been regular, one of the sources said.
Japan’s Hokkaido Electric Power also sought a cargo for delivery in November.
Demand was also firm from India with Torrent Power and Indian Oil Corp each seeking a cargo for delivery in October, sources said.
An earlier one-year requirement by Essar Group for 12 cargoes was canceled, sources added.
Still, despite the demand, buyers’ expectations of prices for cargoes were still low, one trading source said.
Supply was also ample as Australia’s Ichthys LNG plant offered a cargo for October while Malaysia’s Petronas closed a tender offering a cargo from its Bintulu plant, industry sources said.
Indonesia’s Donggi-Senoro export plant offered two cargoes for loading in November and December.
Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co (EGAS) offered three cargoes for loading from the Idku plant in September in a tender which was later canceled due to low bids, sources added.
In the United States, Freeport LNG’s start-up is approaching, with up to two idle vessels ready at the Freeport anchorage area, Kpler analysts said in a note this week.
Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; editing by Christian Schmollinger