Asian LNG Spot Prices Rise as China Replenishes Inventories

(Reuters) — Asian spot prices for LNG rose this week as China, Japan and South Korea sought supply in an early move to stock up for winter, industry sources said.

The average LNG price for June delivery into Northeast Asia was estimated at about $7.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), traders said. Last week, cargoes for May delivery were about $7.30 per mmBtu.

"Companies are stocking up earlier for the next winter, after all the supply disruptions from the past months," a London-based trader said.

A colder than average winter in the northern hemisphere and a ship congestion at the Suez canal, the fastest route between Asia and Europe, have boosted prices since December.

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co Ltd was seeking a cargo for delivery between May 22 and June 13 to the Soma terminal.

Distributor ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. bought at least 12 cargoes for delivery between July and February in China, traders said.

Pavilion Energy said on Thursday it had imported Singapore's first carbon-neutral LNG cargo.

Europe is also storing up gas as a cold spell sustained heating demand and slowed stock replenishment, which are below historical levels for this time of the year, traders said.

The amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants averaged 11.0 bcfd so far in April. The volume would top March's monthly record of 10.8 bcfd, as low internal prices compensate for the cost of liquefying and transporting the super-chilled fuel to Asia, traders said

Analysts, however, said they do not expect LNG feedgas to break March's record in April because flows were expected to decline this month due to planned work on a couple of facilities and the pipelines serving them, including Cheniere Energy Inc's Corpus Christi facility in Texas and Cameron LNG's plant in Louisiana.

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