Liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot prices in Asia have risen in the past week as market participants fear costs might skyrocket if the European Union imposes a ban on Russian oil and Moscow reacts by halting gas supplies to the continent.
The average LNG price for June delivery into north-east Asia was estimated at $23.90 per metric million British thermal units, up $0.40 from the previous week, industry sources said.
Spark commodities said that forward curves continue to point to US cargos being sent to Europe rather than Asia for the next 12 months.
In Asia, there is some buying interest from south Asian markets amid softer spot prices.
But demand for spot cargoes is expected to remain muted in China as ongoing Covid-19 related lockdown measures have now been extended to Beijing, Refinitiv analysts said.
In 2021, China imported more LNG than any other country, according to data from Global Trade Tracker and China’s General Administration of Customs.
Prior to 2021, Japan had been the world’s largest LNG importer for decades, according to data from Cedigaz. (See chart provided by the US Energy Information Administration).
European gas prices have risen recently amid ongoing concerns over possible cuts to supply from Russia, which provides around 40% of the bloc’s gas.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin put the West on notice on Tuesday after he signed a broad decree which forbade the export of products and raw materials to people and entities on a sanctions list that he instructed the government to draw up within 10 days.
“The proposed EU ban for Russian oil is increasing market tensions about possible future gas supply disruptions either triggered by a Russian counter move, or a EU ban on natural gas later in the year,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell