June 11, 2020 / 4:14 PM / 24 days ago

LNG tanker to drop cargo in U.S. with European stockpiles near full

June 11 (Reuters) - A ship carrying liquefied natural gas from Nigeria entered a port in the U.S. state of Georgia on Thursday as energy firms seek facilities to store the super-cooled fuel with stockpiles nearing full capacity in Europe.

The ship, Madrid Spirit, is heading for Kinder Morgan Inc’s Elba Island LNG plant near Savannah, according to ship tracking data from Refinitiv.

A unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc chartered the ship, people familiar with the matter said. Shell, which has a long-term contract to use Elba, declined to comment.

The United States, which is the world’s third biggest LNG exporter behind Australia and Qatar, does not receive a lot of LNG imports, but they do occur.

There were 21 LNG deliveries to the United States last year, mostly from Trinidad, while U.S. exports totaled more than 500 cargoes.

Analysts said it makes sense for some energy firms to store LNG in the United States because U.S. gas prices have traded mostly higher than in Europe since late April.

The combination of higher U.S. prices, coronavirus demand destruction and record stockpiles in Europe has already prompted buyers to cancel dozens of U.S. LNG export cargoes for delivery this summer.

So far in 2020, the United States received at least 10 other LNG deliveries with seven going to Exelon Corp’s Everett terminal in Massachusetts and three, including one this week, to Dominion Energy Inc’s Cove Point in Maryland, according to federal and Refinitiv data.

Exelon said it does not import or store LNG at Everett for others since it mostly uses the terminal to fuel its Mystic gas-fired power plant.

At Cove Point, however, BP Plc, Equinor ASA and Shell have storage rights for a 120-day period, according to Energy Aspects.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Tom Brown

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