ICE To Start Offering First-Ever U.S. LNG Futures Contracts

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By Tsvetana Paraskova, Oilprice.com

As the U.S. has been increasingly growing its LNG exports in recent months, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) said on Wednesday that it would start trading the first-ever U.S. LNG futures contract that will be cash settled against the Platts LNG Gulf Coast Marker (GCM) price assessment.

The U.S. LNG contract trade will be launched in May, according to Reuters.

S&P Global Platts sees the U.S. as playing a key role in the global LNG and natural gas markets, thanks to the shale revolution that has significantly increased American LNG exports.

According to the EIA, the U.S. is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas on an average annual basis by 2018, according to the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case. The transition to net exporter would be driven by declining pipeline imports, rising pipeline exports, and higher LNG exports. In addition, the EIA sees the U.S. becoming a net exporter of total energy in the 2020s, largely due to higher natural gas exports.

Now the first U.S. LNG futures contract is reflecting the U.S. Gulf Coast’s importance as a global center for LNG liquefaction, storage and export-bound gas, S&P Global Platts and Intercontinental Exchange said in the statement.

The new derivative contract will allow domestic and international market participants to have a “more effective means of hedging their spot and forward exposure, which will be particularly useful as the global LNG market continues to evolve and grow,” J.C. Kneale, vice president, North American power and natural gas markets, at ICE, said in the press release.

Asia-based LNG swaps have shown exponential growth over the past couple of years, and counterparties want the new flexible supply from the U.S. to be underpinned by both price transparency and the means to hedge, according to Shelley Kerr, global director of LNG and regional director of generating fuels & electric power, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at S&P Global.

“We believe the U.S. Gulf Coast is poised to become a key anchor for LNG prices,” Kerr noted.

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