Global natural gas prices weakened on Monday amid bearish weather forecasts.
Both the prompt Dutch Title Transfer Facility and the UK’s National Balancing Point gave up last week’s gains, when the European benchmarks were pushed up by cooler temperatures, rising carbon prices, improving crude oil and stronger sentiment in the Asian gas market. Above-normal temperatures are expected across much of the continent next week. Milder temperatures in the United States were also holding back gas prices there as the week got underway.
Japan Korea Marker (JKM) futures gained last week as well and spot prices remained stable Monday at over $5.00/MMBtu, but JKM has steadily declined in recent weeks. “The move has been driven by a wave of Atlantic Basin supply finally reaching Asia just as China demand declined significantly driven by much milder weather as well as lower activity levels owing to the Lunar New Year,” analysts at Goldman Sachs Commodity Research said in a note on Friday.
Spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessel rates have also fallen off sharply, hitting record lows on Friday as activity has declined. Atlantic Basin rates for a 160,000 cubic meter ship were down 18% from the previous assessment to $16,750/day, according to Spark Commodities. Pacific Basin rates were down 7% to $21,750/day.
Even Brent crude retreated Monday after earlier hitting fresh highs of over $70/bbl after Saudi Arabia reported another attack on its oil infrastructure by Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But the attack had limited impact and was reportedly intercepted by Saudi Arabia. The Brent prompt contract settled at $68.24.
Despite the daily ebb and flow of the market, the outlook remains strong for LNG even as the winter comes to a close. European storage stocks were at 34.5% on Saturday, low for this time of year and well below the five-year average in a bullish sign for restocking in the months ahead. Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. also said Friday that LNG imports in Europe are down by about 1.5 Bcf/d year/year.
In the United States, the Corpus Christi LNG export terminal started a maintenance event Monday limiting deliveries to 2,142,000 MMBtu through Tuesday, according to Wood Mackenzie. Nominations were at 2,448,892 MMBtu late last week, but dropped to about 170,000 MMBtu over the weekend. Another maintenance event will begin Tuesday limiting flows through the Sinton compressor stations to 2,295,000 MMBtu/d through Friday, Wood Mackenzie said.
LNG production at Russia’s Sakhalin terminal has also been limited by a reported breakdown of an onshore gas pumping unit. One of the terminal’s two trains is running at partial capacity, which could last through next month, according to Bloomberg.
Back in the United States, NextDecade Corp. said it has renewed pricing with Bechtel Oil, Gas, and Chemicals Inc. on the lump-sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction agreements for the first three trains at the proposed Rio Grande LNG project. NextDecade said the pricing refresh resulted in no impact to the project’s overall cost. Rio Grande would have the capacity to export 27 million metric tons/year of LNG from a site on the Port of Brownsville in Texas.
© 2021 Natural Gas Intelligence. All rights reserved.
ISSN © 2577-9877 |