U.S. feed gas deliveries were poised to hit their highest point in nearly two weeks on Tuesday as liquefied natural gas (LNG) export operations along the Gulf Coast continued ramping up after a historic winter storm nearly shut them down last week.
Feed gas deliveries have been climbing in recent days, surpassing 8 Bcf on Sunday. Nominations were at 9.43 Bcf on Tuesday. Barring any downward revisions in later nomination cycles, that would represent the highest level in pipeline deliveries to U.S. export terminals since Feb. 11, according to NGI data. Fog was impacting some ports along the Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
A backlog of empty LNG vessels in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been growing since Friday, but it appears to be leveling off as the week gets into full swing, said Kpler senior commodity economist Reid I’Anson. There were 25 ballast tankers in the GOM on Tuesday afternoon, he told NGI, up from 24 on Monday.
I’Anson noted that Sabine Pass LNG in Louisiana, which was spared the worst of the storm’s impacts compared to other terminals in the region, has continued to drive a rebound in LNG loadings, accounting for 74% of the volumes that have departed the Gulf Coast since February 18.
With warmer weather returning to the region and a similar forecast for parts of the United States over the next week, Henry Hub prompt prices have continued to decline since Thursday. The March contract hit $2.953 Monday and fell to $2.879/MMBtu on Tuesday.
Spot prices in the south have also normalized. Trades at the OGT hub in Oklahoma averaged $2.635/MMBtu on Monday, compared to highs of $1,000-plus during the worst of the cold last week, according to NGI data.
“Spot and forward prices continue to move back toward norms after last week’s chaos, but we expect production effects to linger somewhat,” said Wood Mackenzie analyst Joe Bernardi in a note on Tuesday. U.S. natural gas production is bouncing back after last week’s deep freeze, but it remains below previous norms in the Lower 48 at about 80 Bcf, or around 90% of January’s overall average, Bernardi said.
The U.S. LNG outages also appeared to have limited near-term impacts on markets overseas. European natural gas prices declined last week and continued to slip on Monday.
“Concerns on relatively weak pipeline supply and lower reduced U.S. LNG feed gas due to historic freeze-offs in some producing regions only provided temporary support to prices,” analysts at Engie EnergyScan said in a Monday note.
Both the prompt National Balancing Point and Title Transfer Facility contracts closed higher Tuesday as concerns over lower pipeline flows from Russia and Norway resurfaced to stem losses during previous sessions.
In North Asia, meanwhile, spot prices remained steady at around $6.00/MMBtu as more supplies are on offer.
The loss of oil output during the storm in the United States last week, combined with dwindling inventories and a tightening global market also continued to lift Brent crude for April delivery, which gained 13 cents to finish at $65.37 Tuesday.
Elsewhere in the global gas market, a series of long-term LNG supply deals recently were announced. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. was the first, announcing a deal last Thursday with RWE Supply & Trading GmbH to provide 840,000 million metric tons/year (mmty) of the super-chilled fuel for seven years beginning in 2025.
Qatar Petroleum announced a long-term deal Monday to supply 1.25 million tons annually to Vitol’s customers in Bangladesh for an unspecified period of time. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. also said Monday it would provide Pavilion Energy Trading & Supply Pte. Ltd. with 500,000 mmty over a six-year period.
In the United States, Tellurian Inc. said last week it cut debt by $57 million since the beginning of the year after a number of repayments. The announcement is a positive one for the pre-revenue company as it’s worked recently to cut costs on its way to sanction the 27.6 mmty Driftwood LNG export terminal in Louisiana.
There was also positive news for the market in Egypt over the weekend as an LNG vessel arrived at Damietta LNG on Sunday to load the first cargo since the terminal came back online after eight years of being idle.
© 2021 Natural Gas Intelligence. All rights reserved.
ISSN © 2577-9877 |