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SINGAPORE (ICIS) –The ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) firmed on 22 September on early TTF trades and tender information, resulting in a spot value of $41.00/MMBtu, $2/MMBtu higher than the previous day’s close.

Demand continues to be lower, with more interest seen in buying for later in the winter.

Despite the day-on-day rise on 22 September, the EAX fell week-on-week, resulting in more buy tender interest starting to develop.

Japan’s Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised its winter readiness report last week to suggest the power sector could meet a 3% capacity reserve margin.

Charter rates moved up in the Pacific basin, rising to $200,000-$250,000/day depending on exact requirements. The TDFE-propelled market stood at $170,000/day.

Market Pricing

Lower demand resulted in limited overall change in European gas prices over the week with occasional volatility, despite temperatures beginning to drop and the lack of Russian pipe gas. High gas storage has added an element of confidence around winter supply, although major risks persist.

The sensitivity of the market to any news around Russian flows was highlighted on Monday as the TTF fell on nominations into the German OPAL and NEL pipelines that suggested Nord Stream gas could flow again. But nominations soon disappeared and no gas flowed.

After more volatility in the previous week, the ICIS East Asia Index rose on Thursday on new tender results. This was a change from the previous session where buyers had pushed back on higher prices.

Tenders

Traders said a buy tender by Japan’s INPEX that closed on 20 September for a 4-9 December DES cargo to Naoetsu was awarded in the low-$40s/MMBtu, with one source putting a finer pricing level of $42.00/MMBtu.

India’s GAIL issued a new swap tender on 21 September, offering a 3 November cargo loading from US Cove Point in exchange for two October cargoes into India: 1-12 October into Dabhol and 16-31 October into Dahej. Offers are due by 23 September.

Angola sought bids linked to Brent, the NBP, TTF or a northern Asian marker for sales from 2023 to 2025. Possible delivery destinations cover Brazil, Chile, Europe, Turkey, Kuwait, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

An FOB cargo on offer from Bontang by Pertamina for 10-13 October loading closed on 20 September.

ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel issued a non-binding term buy tender for 0.4mtpa from 2025 to 2030. Traders said the cargoes are for delivery to any port in Western India. The tender was likely issued to gauge LNG volumes available in the market before coming out with a firm requirement for more volume over a duration that could be extended to 15 years.

Indonesia’s Pertamina awarded a sell tender for cargoes from 2024 to 2026 at a slope of 23% to Brent, a significant increase on slopes for previous tenders.

Infrastructure

German natural gas company Uniper was nationalized by the government and the company said on 21 September that a capital increase of 8 billion euros had been agreed. Prior to the war in Ukraine, Uniper was Russian Gazprom’s largest customer for gas.

Natural gas flows from Russia to China along the Power of Siberia pipeline will halt from 22-29 September for planned maintenance. In line with the terms of the long-term contract with buyer CNPC the pipe shuts every spring and autumn for maintenance.

The new Dutch Eemshaven LNG terminal started physical gas flows into the Dutch gas transport network, according to pipeline data. Hourly data showed small physical flows came from the Golar Igloo FSRU unit.

The European Commission has further confirmed plans to develop a European LNG index to complement the existing TTF benchmark as part of planned intervention. The Commission also confirmed temporary measures that aim to cut power consumption by 5% during peak hours and reduce overall power consumption by 10% until 31 March 2023. It is estimated that cutting consumption during peak times could cut gas consumption by 1.2bcm over the winter.

Shipping

Finnish energy company Gasum chartered small-scale 16,000bcm Coral Energy. The vessel previously loaded at Russia’s Vyostok plant. Gasum confirmed the Coral Energy was carrying Russian LNG.