A persistent drought impacting the Panama Canal has left LNG shippers with a few alternatives; either wait for weeks in a growing queue, pay exorbitant prices to jump the line or take a long detour.

The water levels at Alajuela and Gatun, the two artificial lakes that supply water to the canal, have continued to lower for the past several months. In October, Panama saw its driest month since 1950. 

Some shippers have decided to balance the costs of additional time on the water, choosing to pay extra for a quicker passage. Earlier in the month, Japan’s Eneos Group paid almost $4 million at auction for an opportunity to have a liquefied natural gas carrier skip the canal’s waiting list for passage.

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