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European LNG exports to Asia hit high as price crunch grips

Europe's LNG exports to Asia hit record high in Sept - data
Europe's LNG exports to Asia hit record high in Sept - data   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters

By Jessica Jaganathan and Ron Bousso

SINGAPORE/LONDON -Europe exported a record amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia in September, data showed on Friday, even as lower supply drove European gas and electricity prices to new highs.

Europe shipped about 0.48 to 0.51 million tonnes of LNG to Asia, mostly South Asian countries, breaking the previous monthly record in February 2018, shiptracking data from Refinitiv Eikon and data intelligence firm Kpler showed.

While it is usual for Europe to re-export LNG cargoes, the higher than usual volumes to Asia come at a time when gas inventories in Europe are lower than usual, which has pushed prices to record highs.

Asia is competing for LNG with Europe to meet an expected rise in winter heating demand, as top buyer China grapples with power shortages.

“The most expensive incremental supply that can be sent eastwards is a European re-exported cargo which includes further costs for re-loading and tank rental,” Oswald Clint, a senior analyst from Bernstein Energy, said in a note.

The re-exports from Europe will “make it tough for … a quick 2-3 (billion cubic metres of natural gas flow) back into storage and push gas prices all the way back down,” he said, adding that about 2 to 3 bcm of gas is needed to flow into inventory for gas prices to normalise.

LNG re-exports from Europe are typically done by companies with portfolio positions that have offtake agreements at the region’s terminals, a Singapore-based industry source said.

“Re-exports are usually from France, Spain and Netherlands and are not unusual … could be also to meet term commitments or to cover shortfall of cargoes,” the source added.