As Suez Canal Reopens, Number of LNG Vessels Waiting to Enter Jumps

(Reuters) — A total of 16 vessels carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) were prepared to enter the Suez Canal, double the number from Friday, according to cargo tracking firm Kpler, as stranded container ship Ever Given was freed on Monday after a nearly week-long stranding.

Egypt's SUMED pipeline operator had approached crude traders to see whether they wanted to book space in the system, but traders preferred to wait to avoid high additional costs.

Eleven LNG vessels were waiting at the northern entrance and five at the southern entrance. In all, 18 LNG tankers will be late to their destinations, mostly in Asia, due to the congestion, Kpler said.

Aside from LNG, there were about 450 cargo ships with different commodities waiting to pass.

The giant container ship blocking the canal for almost a week was fully floated on Monday and traffic in the waterway would resume, the canal authority said in a statement.

The 400-meter (430-yard) long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

"While today’s development in the Suez Canal is promising for the return of oil shipments through the water conduit, due to the large number of vessels that have accumulated, it could still be days or weeks until the canal is fully back to normal operations," Louise Dickson, oil analyst at consultancy Rystad Energy, said by e-mail.

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