A tripling of LNG output likely to hit the shipping market

A predicted tripling of sanctions for global LNG projects in 2019 threatens to disrupt future shipping logistics as demand for the gas enters a more volatile phase because of a rapid increase in supply.

This is the result of a likely record year for final investment decisions (FIDs) that will ultimately deliver more than 60M tonnes of LNG per year (mta), nearly three times the 21 mta sanctioned in 2018, as the research director for Wood Mackenzie Giles Farrer forecasts. Inevitably, increased availability of LNG will influence where tankers deliver their loads.

But Wood Mackenzie also predicts shorter-term volatility in the vagaries of the weather that could affect shipping movements – “a mild end to [the 2019] winter could send more LNG into Europe and drive prices down further,” he said.

The energy consultant’s predictions come at a time of concern over the availability of LNG tankers to handle the huge extra output, particularly in the spot market because most of the fleet are locked into exclusive long-term charters. In a mid-2018 study, the International Energy Agency highlighted a possible shortfall in vessels as a threat to the security of supply, particularly in more remote regions.

The dearth of available LNG carriers is reflected in rocketing spot charter rates. In November, they shot to US$190,000 a day, five times higher than in early May.

Overall though, it appears the tanker fleet will have to adjust to changes in demand in the medium-term future. “Asian LNG demand growth will not keep pace with LNG supply and Europe – northwest Europe in particular – will have to absorb the surplus, especially during the summer,” he predicted in a release this week. “But Europe needs additional imports and flexibility, given its increased reliance on maxed-out Russian and Norwegian imports.”

It is therefore likely, he added, “there would be more LNG imports than required. And that in turn would provide competition to pipe imports and put pressure on prices,” he said. However Mr Farrer does not see the level of oversupply in 2019 that others fear.

A record number of LNG projects, as measured by volume, are due to get the green light. Wood Mackenzie sees the frontrunners in the race to hit FID in 2019 as the giant US$27Bn Arctic LNG-2 project in Russia, at least one project in Mozambique and three in America. Of the latter, Wood Mackenzie identifies three major operations as top picks – Golden Pass, Calcasieu Pass and Sabine Pass Train 6.

But that is not all. There are other projects in the pipeline in America as well as in Qatar, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Nigeria, all aiming for FID in 2019.

Wood Mackenzie sees other global influences that would inevitably determine the course of the growing LNG shipping network. “A recession would bring gas/LNG demand and oil prices down, delay FIDs and push the global LNG market back a few years,” said Mr Farrer. “But there could be a worse scenario for the gas market: a major economic downturn happening in 2020 or 2021, just after 60-100 mta of LNG has taken FID. That would wipe out our forecast price recovery post-2020 and make our forecast that prices soften a little around 2025 look a lot worse.”

Chinese demand is also less certain than it was in 2018, particularly if Beijing rethinks its headlong switch from coal to gas. In the last two years demand for LNG hovered between 40-45% growth, but that could fall to about 20%. However, as Wood Mackenzie pointed out, even if that happened China would remain by far the largest customer for LNG in the global market.


Nå har vel Qatar i stor grad egne fartøy, slik at det er usikkert hvordan deres ekspansjon eventuelt vil påvirke ratene.

Forøvrig la Teekay frem kvartalsrapport I dag hvor de uttaler at de ser mulighet for svakere spotrater fra 2021. De har derfor som mål å inngå lengre avtaler innen den tid.
22.02.2019 kl 09:35 5831

Det positive med artikkelen er Qatars syn på veksten som vil komme i Asia og at de er villige til å investere tungt. Qatar med flere er villig til å gjøre store investeringer for å sikre energitilgang til de som velger LNG. Muligheten for at det kan bli manko av gass gjør muligens at noen er tilbakeholdne i sin konvertering til LNG. Om du har ansvar for energitilgang for et land, så ønsker man ikke å risikere denslags. Men så har vi luftkvaliteten som krever tiltak.
Samtidig liker jeg å tro at Qatars investeringer i USA peker mot at de ønsker mer import til asia derfra. Skader ikke med litt diplomatisk pull fra andre land.
Slik jeg tenker vertfall.
22.02.2019 kl 14:24 5750

Feil melding som er slettet
22.02.2019 kl 15:19 5709

Ligger an til bullish harami i dag. Fint om vi hadde fått et push over 11,40 neste uke.
25.02.2019 kl 10:34 5385

Bare vi får en "super-chilled" vinter i år/neste år så går dette veien. Pun intended

China’s January LNG imports rise to record high

China’s liquefied natural gas imports in January rose to a record as an increase in residential heating demand during the winter after the country’s shift to gas heating spurred higher shipments, customs data showed on Saturday.

January LNG imports rose 27.8 percent from a year earlier to 6.58 million tonnes, the highest since December, when they had also reached a new high, the General Administration of Customs said.

Surging imports were partially driven by consumption from residential users in northern China after the government’s drive to replace coal heating with gas, despite falling demand from the industrial sector amid a warmer-than-usual winter.

The country shifted an additional 3 million more homes this winter to gas, which is expected to create an additional 4.53 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas demand during the Nov. 15 to March 15 winter heating period.

Industrial gas demand in northern China is showing signs of a sharp slowdown as small manufacturers shut their doors or buy less gas, unable to cope with a drop-off in export orders and costs related to Beijing’s pollution control and reform measures.

China’s National Offshore Oil Corp resold at least one LNG cargo in January, during what should be the peak demand month, citing this year’s warmer weather.

On Feb. 14, customs reported that China’s total January natural gas imports, including LNG and gas brought in by pipeline, rose by 26.8 percent from a year earlier to 9.81 million tonnes, a record high.


Ordreboken vokser og vokser - slik den alltid gjør så snart det er fnugg av optimisme i shippingmarkedet.

25.02.2019 kl 20:27 5105

Nesten tre år til begge de skipene er levert, tapogvinn

en for stor ordrebok vil uansett legge et tak på LNG-aksjene.
25.02.2019 kl 21:58 5008

Classic shipping.

Nja, tak og tak. Ikke slik aksjen utvikler seg nå vertfall. Dvs. etter ratene i dag og ikke de som kommer. Etter det tankesettet vil selskapet bli priset i henhold til spot, og ikke i henhold til de mørke skyene i 2022. Vi får se.
25.02.2019 kl 22:01 5003

SPOT MARKET (usd/day) This week Last week Low 2019 High 2019
East of Suez 155-165'cbm 48 000 49 000 48 000 100 000
West of Suez 155-165'cbm 50 000 53 000 50 000 100 000
1 yr TC 155-165'cbm 78 000 79 000 78 000 92 500
Redigert 25.02.2019 kl 22:02 Du må logge inn for å svare
26.02.2019 kl 20:53 4621

Hva skjedde med FLNG i dag? Kraftig fall på høyt volum. Jaja, billigere aksjer på oss!
27.02.2019 kl 00:33 4500

Ikke noe annet enn at ratene faller videre og det er 19 LNG skip uten frakt nå. Slik blir det fall av uansett hvor gode utsiktene er for resten av året.
Men Poten skrev i dag at de mente ratene er i nærheten av det som blir årets bunn. I så fall er det tid for å kjøpe snart.
Redigert 27.02.2019 kl 00:33 Du må logge inn for å svare
28.02.2019 kl 06:59 4049

Flex LNG – Fourth Quarter Earnings Release

February 28, 2019 - Hamilton, Bermuda
Flex LNG Ltd. (“Flex LNG” or the “Company”) today reports unaudited results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018.

• Reported revenues of $36.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $7.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. Reported revenues of $77.2 million for the full year 2018, compared to $27.3 million for the full year 2017.
• Operating income before depreciation of $28.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $1.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. Operating income before depreciation of $46.4 million for the full year 2018, compared to an operating loss before depreciation of $12.6 million for the full year 2017.
• Reported net profit of $15.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $1.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. Reported net profit of $11.8 million for the full year 2018, compared to a net loss of $10.4 million for the full year 2017.
• In October 2018, Flex LNG successfully conducted a private placement, raising gross proceeds of approximately $300 million, through the placement of 172,938,947 new shares at a subscription price of NOK 14.25 per share. Geveran Trading Co. Ltd. ("Geveran"), the Company's largest shareholder, was allocated 57,646,316 shares for approximately $100 million. Following the private placement, Geveran holds a 44.6% ownership in the Company.
• In connection with the $300 million private placement, Flex LNG entered into a transaction for the acquisition of five 5th generation LNG newbuildings.
• Subsequent to quarter end, the Company has secured a $250 million financing from a syndicate of banks for the financing of the two newbuildings delivering in 2019.
• As the market has softened in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter we do expect the financial figures for the first quarter to be more in line with the third quarter of 2018 due to lower headline rates and lower utilization level.

Øystein M Kalleklev, CEO comments:
"We are pleased to deliver strong results for the fourth quarter in line with our guidance. During the fourth quarter we capitalized on a strong market and clearly demonstrated the earnings potential of our new fifth generation LNG carriers. While the market is currently soft due to weaker shipping demand, we remain upbeat about the outlook for LNG shipping as a glut of new liquefaction capacity is coming on line both near and long term".

Fourth Quarter of Result Presentation

Flex LNG will release its financial results for the quarter and twelve months ended December 31, 2018 on Thursday February 28, 2019 on or about 07:00 am CET / 01:00 am EST.

In connection with the earnings release, a webcast and conference call will be held at 14:00 pm CET / 08:00 am EST. In order to attend the webcast and/or conference call you may do one of the following:

Attend by Webcast:
Use to the follow link prior to the webcast:

Attend by Conference Call:
Applicable dial-in telephone numbers are as follows:
Norway: +47 21 56 31 62
United Kingdom: +44 (0) 203 0095710
United States: +1 917-720-0178
Confirmation Code: 6782437
28.02.2019 kl 12:27 3853

Resultatene for FLNG er på topp men aksjekursen fortsetter å falle, 10,30kr ned 4,6%. Hva skjer?
28.02.2019 kl 12:44 3777

Alt av shipping er ned i dag uavhengig av utsikter og inntjening. Vet ikke konkret hva som ligger bak, men tipper frykt blandet med Kinas økonomi er faktorer.
28.02.2019 kl 17:27 3675

Da er det vel bare å akkumulere videre. Aksjekursen snur nok snart opp igjen.
28.02.2019 kl 22:29 3573

SPOT MARKET (usd/day) This week Last week Low 2019 High 2019
East of Suez 155-165'cbm 45 000 48 000 45 000 100 000
West of Suez 155-165'cbm 47 000 50 000 47 000 100 000
1 yr TC 155-165'cbm 75 000 78 000 75 000 92 500
01.03.2019 kl 13:49 3397

GLOBAL LNG-Asian prices slide to lowest in nearly 19 months

By Jessica Jaganathan

SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) fell to their lowest in nearly 19 months this week, pressured as buying interest remained slow and as some supply came back online.

Spot prices for April delivery to Northeast Asia LNG-AS are currently at around $6.00 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down 20 cents from the previous week at the lowest since Aug. 4, 2017 when they hit $5.90 per mmBtu, Eikon data showed.

Spot demand from China, the world’s second-largest LNG importer, remained slow, but there were some enquiries for April cargoes, trade sources said.

“The (Lunar New Year) holidays are over and some industries are back online, but I think (demand) will be the same as usual, though it’s still difficult to say which way it will go,” said a China-based industry source.

Total shipments of the super-chilled fuel into Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan were at about 15.94 million tonnes in February, down nearly 19 percent from the previous month, shipping data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.

While it is common for monthly import volumes to drop in February as peak-winter demand tapers off, that marked the biggest monthly decline from January to February since at least 2013, the data showed.

Chevron Corp’s Gorgon LNG export plant in Australia brought its train 3 back online after an unplanned outage, sources said earlier this week.

The train had been shut since mid-January to address a mechanical issue.

LNG loadings from Malaysia’s Bintulu export plant are also normal after a fire at the complex late last week, sources said earlier this week.

A fire broke out on the morning of Feb. 22 at a “sea cooling water outfall channel” that lies outside of the plant process area at the LNG complex, Petronas, the operator of the plant, has said.

Elsewhere, Nigeria LNG’s train 1 and 2 which were recently offline, are now back online and normal operations have resumed, NLNG’s spokesman told Reuters this week. “There was no cargo delivery loss recorded as the cargoes were rescheduled,” he added.

Russia delivered a record amount of LNG to Europe in February, becoming the biggest supplier of the chilled fuel to the continent for the first time.

In tenders and deals, traders said Mexico’s CFE is seeking two cargoes for delivery in March and another two cargoes for April into the Manzanillo terminal, while sources said Indonesia’s Bontang LNG export facility offered to sell at least two cargoes for April and May.

01.03.2019 kl 17:15 3305

TA: 3 bullish harami på rappen, men ingen foreløpig bekreftet. Har ikke sett det før. Totalt bipolart handelsmønster. Ellers er vi i bunnen av en lang stigende trend. Hadde muligens vært brutt på nedsiden hadde det ikke vært for innsidekjøp.
01.03.2019 kl 20:45 3198

Oeystein Moksheim Kalleklev
Chief Executive Officer at Flex LNG
23t • Redigert

This is why Flex LNG is bullish on rate development in 2019. We estimate 33mmtpa of new production (Shell assume 35mmtpa). A LNG carrier typically carries 750,000 tons of LNG p.a (10-12 cargoes) and 38 newbuildings are expected to be delivered this year. Hence to transport 33m tones you historically have required 44 ships. Already tighter. However 20m of the 33m tons will be exported from US and Yamal in Russia which are far away from end-users (3/4 consumed in Asia). Hence adjusting for this sailing distance you probably need 50-60 ships. Recently due to warm winter in Pacific, Europe have taken significantly more cargoes altering trading pattern, but once market re-balanced expect tight market again.

Ok, så marginal økning i produksjon er høyere enn antall nybygg. Men det finnes jo ledig kapasitet i markedet fra før også, hvis ikke hadde ratene ikke gått så lavt som de har gjort.

6 skip " i manko" og avstand fra produsent til sluttbruker, blir litt tynn suppe eller? Han virker jo ganske selvsikker så det ligger vel forhåpentligvis andre vurderinger til grunn også
Redigert 01.03.2019 kl 21:08 Du må logge inn for å svare
01.03.2019 kl 23:04 3110

Feds give Cheniere Energy green light to begin commercial operations at Corpus Christi LNG

Federal officials have given Houston liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy permission to put its first production unit at Corpus Christi LNG into commercial service and begin exports.

Less than a month after an inspection, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials issued an order Friday morning giving Cheniere permission to put an LNG production unit known as Train 1 into service — adding that the company can begin export activities.

Receiving natural gas from the Eagle Ford Shale and other sources, the Train 1 production unit is used to supercool natural gas until it becomes a liquid that can shipped on tankers around the world.

Located along the La Quinta Ship Channel in Ingleside, the $15 billion Corpus Christi LNG facility is the first liquefied natural gas export terminal to be brought into commercial service in Texas.
Construction at Corpus Christi LNG started in 2015, with Train 1 completed in November 2018. As part of a months long-startup and testing process known as commissioning, Cheniere exported two cargoes of LNG from Train 1 to Greece and the United Kingdom in December.

With the FERC order in hand, Cheniere can now begin commercial operations and regular exports at the facility.

Train 1 is just the beginning at Corpus Christi LNG. Cheniere has already begun the startup process at the facility for a second production unit there known as Train 2 while construction for a third production unit known as Train 3 continues.

01.03.2019 kl 23:15 3100

Det er en del ledig kapasitet nå ja som følger av fenomener vi ikke kan kontrollere. Derimot under normale forhold er det værre. Så om man tar etterspørselsveksten og sammenligner med flåteveksten, så vil man få et underskudd av skip sies det. Dette gjelder både for 2019 og 2020.
Ser frem til å se hva ratene er om Asia fremholder veksten og vi får en "normal" vinter. Men El Nino er noe som forekommer med 2-7års mellomrom ettersom jeg har lest.
Det vi kanskje kan se frem til, som Øystein sa under presentasjonen, var at høy temp om vinteren ville bære med seg utover våren og sommeren. Dette fører også til høyt energiforbruk. Mulig vi får et annet ratebilde dette året enn tidligere.
Vi får følge med videre og se. Når det gjelder om Øysteins prediksjoner er basert på tynn suppe, så kan jeg egentlig bare si at jeg ikke har kunnskap nok til å kunne motstride han. Diskuterer heller ikke mat med Hellstrøm.

God Helg
02.03.2019 kl 17:52 2897

Det var ikke særlig ledig kapasitet i fjor høst, så om ikke kjøperne tar stor grep for å øke perioden gassen skipes inn kan høsten gi fantasirater. Utfordringen de har er begrenset lagringskapasitet.

I år trakk høye temperaturer proppen ut av markedet før vinteren kom ordentlig i gang. Det er ingen grunn til å tro at det blir slik neste vinter. Om det i tillegg blir stort forbruk av gass til oppvarming til sommeren kan vi gå et svært spennende år i møte.
03.03.2019 kl 12:31 2694

Mener vi vil se et kraftig oppsving i FLEX fremover
04.03.2019 kl 07:09 2471

Fra artikkelen i wsj:

One of the sweeteners would be an $18 billion natural-gas purchase from Cheniere Energy Inc., people familiar with the transaction said.

04.03.2019 kl 13:49 2320

Flex opp å prøve motstanden igjen på 11,80?
04.03.2019 kl 14:06 4763

Tror den skal opp mot 13 innen kort tid
04.03.2019 kl 14:13 4748

Ok, hvorfor det?

Jeg tror denne kommer til å vandre mellom støtte og motstand en stund fremover altså 10.50-11,80. Dette helt til vi ser noen bedre rater fremover.
05.03.2019 kl 12:33 4590

Sinopec prepares to buy U.S. LNG in case government orders purchase: president

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Sinopec Corp will make arrangements to purchase liquefied national gas (LNG) from the United States as soon as they are ordered to do so by the government, Sinopec President Ma Yongsheng told Reuters on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament meeting, Ma also said China would likely form a national oil and gas pipeline company this year.

The state oil and gas giant plans to shift from refining to more value-added chemicals due to rising competition from private refiners, Ma said.

05.03.2019 kl 14:09 4527

Jeg anser det for meget sannsynlig at en handelsavtale mellom Kina og USA vil innebære forpliktelse for Kina til kjøp av LPG og LNG fra USA. Det vil medføre stor økning i tonnmil og vil gagne bl.a. FLNG, BWLPG og AVANCE
05.03.2019 kl 15:05 4476

Kan bli greie rater fremover. Spesielt om Australia, en av verdens største eksportører, må til å importere i tillegg. Er snakk om det.
05.03.2019 kl 15:16 4479

Her får de bare pøse på med gass.

Pollution soars in Northern China in February: official data

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Air pollution in 39 smog-prone northern Chinese cities soared in February, making it increasingly unlikely they will meet their annual winter air quality targets, Reuters analysis of official data showed.
People are seen in a traditional alleyway, or Hutong, on a polluted day in central Beijing, China March 2, 2019. Picture taken March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China is heading into the sixth year of its “war on pollution” to try to reverse damage from over three decades of untrammeled economic growth and allay public disquiet about the state of the country’s air, soil and water.

In his annual government work report delivered to parliament on Tuesday, Premier Li Keqiang vowed that China would continue to “strengthen pollution prevention and control” this year.

However, the country has struggled to meet its targets in recent months, especially in the 39 cities in the key northern pollution control zones of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and the Fenwei Plain. Average concentrations of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 rose 40 percent in February to hit 108 micrograms per cubic meter in the region, analysis of official data showed.

Anyang in Henan province was again the most polluted city among the 39, with PM2.5 reaching 163 micrograms, up 60 percent from a year earlier. PM2.5 in Anyang exceeded 500 micrograms at one point during the month.

China’s official PM2.5 standard is 35 micrograms. The World Health Organization recommends an annual average of no more than 10 micrograms.

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment blamed “unfavorable” weather for the decline in air quality in February, saying on Sunday that “a weak El Nino effect” and a subsequent increase in temperature and humidity made it harder to disperse emissions after Feb. 19.

But, the ministry also said that Lantern Festival firework celebrations and the reopening of factories after the Lunar New Year holiday contributed to the surge.

“I’m very comfortable attributing the bad air quality in the second-half of February in part to the ongoing increase in heavy industry and coal power plant output around the region,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, air pollution analyst with environmental group Greenpeace.

According to Reuters calculations, only six of the 39 cities have experienced an overall decrease in PM2.5 concentrations over the October-February pollution control period. Average levels over the period rose 13 percent to 88 micrograms.

The cities are under pressure to make cuts of at least 3 percent year-on-year from October to March.

“Local governments that fail to achieve their targets will be held accountable - please wait and see,” ministry official Liu Bingjiang said at a briefing on the sidelines of China’s latest national session of parliament on Tuesday.

The environment ministry has been at pains to stress that China will not relent in efforts to curb pollution even as the economy slows, and it warned local governments not to blame economic problems on environmental controls.

Premier Li on Tuesday said China would cut key pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide by 3 percent this year. He said it would also seek “a continuous decline in PM2.5 density in key areas”, though he did not give any specific target.

06.03.2019 kl 23:10 4285

Ettersom jeg har lest står det i avtalen at Kina skal kjøpe LNG fra Cheniere Energy verdt 18 mrd usd. I H2 2018, perioden hvor ratene gikk amok, ble det kun eksportert 6 laster fra USA til Kina som følger av straffetoll. I 2017 ble det eksportert ca. 3 000 000 m3 lng. Ca. 20 laster eller noe?
Vet derimot ikke når disse kjøpene skal foregå.
Kommer og muligens en ny FID på en eksportterminal i USA i de kommende måneder.
07.03.2019 kl 13:12 4151

Dette ble vel såvidt synset om i lenger oppi tråden her.

Chinese LNG goes counter-seasonal: summer shortage, winter overdose

China replaced South Korea as the world’s second-largest LNG importer in 2017, and again surprised the market in 2018 with a counter-seasonal conundrum of summer shortage and winter oversupply.

But as the energy-consuming giant of Asia continues to grow its LNG infrastructure, and industry players focus on achieving stable and reliable supply, the spot market may be exposed to fewer shocks originating from China in the future.

The trading frenzy seen in 2017 started to cool early 2018, visible in a steep backwardation structure in Asia LNG spot prices rolling from winter into spring. The day-on-day price drop was at $1.25/MMBtu, when the Platts JKM assessment rolled into the new front month of March from February on January 16, 2018, compared to a mere $0.21/MMBtu drop same day in 2019.

The Chinese were at the forefront of the market between October 2017-February 2018, procuring winter spot amid tight global supply and colder-than-expected weather in North Asia.

he irreversible part of their demand arose from a politically led coal-to-gas switch in 2017 that resulted in the replacement of coal-fired boilers in more than four million households. The additional upside volatility was attributed to several cold-snaps sweeping across the country and its neighbors, destabilizing gas flows into the massive Central-Asia pipe system that underpins China’s residential winter heating demand.

Natural gas imports from Central Asian countries were then diverted, due to a surge in their own demand amidst a colder winter, sources said. That caused a supply crunch in the Chinese market, sending shocks down to the domestic trucked LNG prices and the residential sector – an undesirable situation that the state planner NDRC would never want to repeat.

Tight summer market

While the market expected supply to loosen up stepping into spring and summer 2018, the country continued to surprise on the upside.

Maintenance works were carried out at some of the major gas pipelines, to prepare far ahead for winter 2018/19, as NDRC is under political pressure to ensure energy security for the residential sector during the heating season of mid-November to mid-March. The national oil companies (NOCs) were heard to have restricted both LNG and gas supply in the southern and eastern regions on persistent market tightness.

In summer, electricity for air-conditioning and industrial usage make up the bulk of China’s LNG demand, notably in the warmer and production-heavy southern regions. To make matters worse, a sustained oil price rally between March and October 2018 kept LNG procurement costs buoyant in the international market, as LNG term contracts were predominantly signed on an oil-linked basis.

The NOCs that did not expect a tight summer previously and refused to pay up in the spot market for additional cargoes, then had to put a cap on LNG send-outs.

Summer tightness also set high price expectations for winter. With the fear of staying short for winter, the Chinese were prompted to rush and sign up for winter strips earlier in the year.

Trade war effects filter in

Summer strength did not last long however. Once the domestic supply shocks were over, soft fundamentals in the downstream market started to pass on bearish signals.

As US-China trade tensions cast uncertainty over the economy, the government saw a rising need for economic stimulus in reviving the manufacturing sector. There were several cuts in power prices by NDRC in 2018 with the aim of cutting costs for the industrial and commercial sectors, restraining profits for transmission grid companies and major power generators.

Domestic supply glut

A downturn in the Chinese economy, led by the China-US trade war, had a gradual but profound spillover effect on LNG demand in winter 2018/19. The pace of coal-to-gas switching slowed notably, as decision-makers relaxed the pressure to replace coal-fired boilers. That was based on both a weaker economy and the fear of a severe backlash to repeat on gas shortage, like the one happened last winter.

In contrast to the previous winter, the massive crowd of smaller industrial users who wanted to buy “every molecule of available LNG in the domestic market” – as sources put it – were absent.

“There’s no way to support usage of such an expensive fuel, when the economy is cooling”, said an end-user.

Smooth and stable imported gas flows through the Central-Asia pipes, coupled with soaring gas production, also contributed to a saturated domestic market. NOCs were faced with chronic bottleneck issues due to limited regasification and storage capacity. Utilization rates were already higher year-on-year and stretching infrastructure limits, with some terminals running at or above nameplate capacity.

In the spot market, both the NOCs and independent buyers embarked on a selling spree, in an attempt to clear away unwanted yet expensive LNG, and ease their “tank-top” issues. There was talk of more than 10 cargoes floating around the Chinese terminals from end-November to early-December, with some being deferred or diverted.

Significant bearishness continued to feed in towards the end of winter, with the realization later that China would not be on the buy side in the spot market scene.

The new normal

While Chinese demand fell short of reviving the winter spot market, the country still posted an impressive year-on-year growth of 35% in LNG imports 2018, albeit lower than the 50% hike in 2017.

With a total of 51 million mt LNG imports in 2018 and the current massive expansion in LNG storage and regasification infrastructure, China is on track to overtake Japan as the world’s largest LNG buyer by 2022, reaching 73 million mt/year, as forecast by S&P Global Platts Analytics. However, as Chinese buyers rush out to sign short-term strips and long-term contracts in an attempt to fill up new regasification capacity – in the interests of energy security and supply stability – little room could be left for spot trade growth despite an overall growing pie.

In the coming years, the policy-driven growth in China’s LNG demand has now been accepted by many as the new normal, rather than a surprise factor.

07.03.2019 kl 14:03 4099

Jeg har inntrykk av at det meste av nykontraheringer av LNGC skip er sluttet på lange fraktkontrakter når skipene bestilles. Noen som hvor stor andel av bestillingene nå som ikke er forankret i lange kontrakter? Grunn til å tro at spotratene i snitt i det lange løp vil følge langsiktige rater?
Redigert 07.03.2019 kl 14:03 Du må logge inn for å svare