By Sabrina Valle
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices fell this week, with less demand for heating in the region and expectations that exports out of the United States will normalize after the Texas storm.
The average LNG price for April delivery into Northeast Asia <LNG-AS> was estimated at about $5.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down about 80 cents from the previous week, industry sources said.
Temperatures in Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul are expected to be higher than average over the next two weeks, weather data from Refinitiv Eikon showed, reducing heating demand.
The worst is seen behind after a deep freeze in Texas shut wells and pipelines this month, but the industry is yet recovering, according to Kpler consultancy firm.
“We’re slowly seeing things return to normal, but I think it will take a few more days at least when it comes to gas markets and LNG,” Kpler senior commodity analyst Reid L’Anson said in an interview on Wednesday.
Two dozen vessels were still on the U.S. Gulf Coast waiting to load LNG, compared with no more than four or five under normal weather conditions, L’Anson said.
The largest U.S. LNG exporter, Cheniere Energy Inc, said China has become the world’s largest consumer, ahead of Japan, and is set to continue to drive up demand.
Global demand expected to almost double by 2040 led by Asia, Royal Dutch Shell said in its annual LNG market outlook.
Buyers of LNG from the United States are expected to cancel no more than five cargoes for loading in April, trade sources said.
Russia’s top LNG producer, Novatek, signed a long-term deal to supply the super-chilled fuel to Chinese state-owned firm Shenergy Group Co.
Kuwait Petroleum Corp <IPO-KUWP.KW> is seeking a cargo for delivery between March 27 and 28, in a tender that closes on March 2, according to industry sources. Indian Oil Corp Ltd is seeking a cargo for April in a tender that closes on Feb. 26, the people said.
Pakistan has signed a new 10-year deal to import LNG from Qatar. (Reporting by Sabrina Valle, in Rio de Janeiro, and Jessica Jaganathan, in Singapore; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)