Global LNG: Asian Prices fall amid low liquidity

LONDON (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) slipped this week amid thin trading due to Christmas holidays.

The average LNG price for February delivery into northeast Asia <LNG-AS> was estimated at around $5.10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), $0.35/mmbtu down from last week.

"Technically (prices fall) because there is less demand and lots of people are on holidays," one LNG trader said.

Demand came only from a couple of buyers.

India's Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) is in the market for a late January cargo. The tender will close on Dec. 30, one source said.

Colombia's Calamari LNG import project also issued a buy tender for a small cargo, the source added. The project is looking to buy 25,000 cubic metres of LNG for delivery between Jan. 6-15 in a tender that closed on Dec. 27.

On the supply side, Cameron plant in the United States has started producing LNG at its Train 2 facility, Sempra LNG said this week, adding commercial operations on the train will start in the first quarter 2020.

However, the availability of cargoes on the global market was seen limited for January and February supply over the past two weeks, several traders said, adding sellers likely preferred to agree deals for most cargoes earlier, expecting prices to keep falling.

Asian prices also reacted to a drop in European gas prices that were pressured by a new deal between Russia and Ukraine ensuring that the transit of Russian gas to Europe will continue after the current deal expires on Dec. 31.

The Dutch front-month contract, a benchmark for LNG arriving to Europe, has dropped by almost 50 cents in the past week to around $4.17/mmBtu on Friday.

Cargoes for delivery into northwest Europe in February have been priced at a more than a 40 cent discount to the Dutchgas price.

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