Editor’s Note: This content is provided courtesy of Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS). Visit natgasintel.com/icis for more information.

As concerns for securing winter supply continue to mount, the European gas benchmark TTF toppled new all-time highs this week.

The ICIS TTF gas contract continued to climb for three successive sessions and was again stronger on Thursday, while the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) rolled over to new delivery windows for October and November.

The TTF premium over Asia widened to more than $16.00/MMBtu as of 17 August, the widest premium of the European gas price over Asian LNG since spot LNG trade developed over the past decade. Since late June, the TTF has traded at a comfortable premium over Asian LNG prices. This week, Asian buyers began discussions for winter cargoes in earnest, with Japanese major JERA concluding a portion of its 2022-2023 winter buy tender.

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Record TTF

The ICIS TTF benchmark scaled new record highs this week, closing above all-time record settlements for three consecutive sessions between 15-17 August.

The German government on 16 August announced signing a memorandum of understanding with German companies Uniper, RWE, EnBW and its subsidiary VNG for the supply of LNG into the proposed LNG import terminals in Brunsbuttel and Wilhemshaven. The agreement would cover the first two floating terminals to be operated by Uniper and RWE, with two more terminals planned.

Reduced pipe gas flows to Europe from Norway due to maintenance and constrained volume from Russia continued to drive up sentiment on the TTF.

Europe continues to draw in elevated LNG volumes, with as much as 7.2m tonnes of LNG to be imported into Europe, excluding Turkey, estimated for the balance of August. This would be about 19% less than the 7.9m tonnes imported into Europe in July but still above the 2019-2021 average for the month of August.

Winter Search

Japanese major JERA and South Korean incumbent KOGAS were both on the hunt for winter cargoes, particularly for fourth-quarter volumes.

JERA was heard to have awarded as many as 15 cargoes for the 2022-2023 winter period.

Prices were concluded for winter cargoes starting in the fourth quarter of 2022 at a $0.50/MMBtu premium to a northeast Asian spot price, while cargoes from April 2023 were around $0.30/MMBtu above the spot price.

Sources also heard other Japanese utilities and Taiwan’s CPC inquiring for winter volumes.

Thailand’s PTT was also in the market.

Sell Side

Eni purchased an FOB cargo for loading in August from Indonesia’s state-run Pertamina. The cargo was reported in the low to mid-$40.00s/MMBtu.

Egypt’s EGAS potentially was considering a new supply tender for November loading.

A swap tender was held by India’s grid operator GAIL seeking to buy a cargo for early September delivery into Dahej in exchange for an early December loading from US Sabine Pass.

In the Middle East, producer ADNOC in Abu Dhabi offered a new cargo for late September loading from Das Island.

Charters Rising

Prompt charter rates rose sharply on the back of higher fixtures and more cross-basin demand.

UK major BP chartered the 173,000cbm Maran Gas Global Energy from US-based Cheniere for a period of six to eight months. The rate was heard in the $200,000/day range and potentially as firm as $210,000/day.

The prompt shipping rate for TDFE vessels in the Atlantic doubled to $80,000/day as of 17 August from $39,000/day a week earlier.

Brazil U-turn

The small-scale 28,000cbm CNTIC VPower Global, chartered by Karpowership, turned from Brazil back to Europe after the associated LNG-to-power venture in Brazil ran into unexpected permitting delays.

The CNTIC VPower Global loaded from Spain in late July and was heading to Brazil to start up as Karpowership’s LNG-to-power project in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

On 10 August, Brazilian regulator ANEEL cancelled the project’s approval, citing delays to the start up.