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LONDON (ICIS) – Forecasts of colder temperatures in northeast Asia lifted the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) on Thursday, in contrast to its downward trajectory throughout most of the week.

Utilities in Japan saw a drop in weekly LNG stocks, and economic weakness in China continued to be a market focus. Reported LNG tender activity in Asia was relatively thin, with a southeast Asian award standing out.

Colder temperatures were also forecast for Europe, helping to lift the ICIS TTF January ‘23 price by more than $5/MMBtu over the week. The roughly $5/MMBtu TTF premium to the EAX more than doubled, potentially attracting more cargoes to Europe, which in November saw record highs in LNG imports and sendout to the grid.

TTF Hits Fresh Highs

The ICIS TTF December ’22 price rose to the highest contract price since 13 October as it climbed to $42.14/MMBtu at close on 30 November. The January ’23 contract rose even higher, closing at $44.56/MMBtu, up 9% day on day, largely due to colder weather and limited wind output.

The TTF’s premium to the EAX more than doubled throughout the week, even as market dynamics had similar impacts on Asia and Europe.

Europe’s LNG Appetite Builds

European LNG imports passed 11m tonnes for the first time in November. LNG into the EU and UK terminals reached 11.14m tonnes in November, driven by 2.6m tonnes delivered into France. The previous record high was 10.6m tonnes in April. The December outlook is strong with around 55 laden vessels confirmed into European terminals.

Dutch company Gasunie is looking to install an FSRU with an import capacity of 4-5bcm/year in Terneuzen, southwest Netherlands in late 2023 or early 2024. The floating terminal would supply gas to the Netherlands and Germany for around 3-5 years. Gasunie is still studying the feasibility of the project and is expected to make an announcement in early 2023.

The 170,000cbm Hoegh Esperanza FSRU has arrived at Sagunto in Spain, possibly to pick up a reload. If the Hoegh Esperanza picks up a cargo from Spain to take back to Wilhelmshaven, it could be the first LNG cargo into Germany, which is accelerating its development of LNG imports.

Australian producer Woodside Energy delivered a cargo to Europe from the North West Shelf project to the Netherlands’ Gate terminal. Australia is unlikely to consider LNG export curbs in 2023 under the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator on 1 December.

Thailand Tender Stands Out

Thailand incumbent PTT awarded at least one cargo for 18-23 December under a five-delivery window DES offer to the Map ta Phut terminal. The tender covered 18-23 December, and 3-4, 14-15, 19-20 and 28-29 January 2023 and closed on 30 November. More than one cargo was bought, likely at a link to a northeast Asian marker.

Export Operations

Trains at both US Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG and Corpus Christi LNG returned online on 30 November. Train 2 at Sabine Pass went offline the day prior while issues with Trains 1 and 3 at Corpus Christi started late last week. Pilot services around Sabine Pass LNG were suspended on 29 November due to fog.

Italy’s Eni said this week it is looking to diversify the country’s gas supply via LNG and expand its Mozambique operations following the launch of the 3.4mtpa Coral-Sul FLNG unit in mid-November. Eni officially inaugurated the FLNG unit in the Rovuma basin in Mozambique on 23 November, with a first shipment that departed on 13 November.

Egyptian LNG exports are at their highest since ICIS flow data began in 2012, on track to break the country’s record. The rise is due to increased Israeli gas exports to Egypt and a reduction in domestic demand.