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Three-Year Low in LNG Price Prompts Asia Buying Spree

A substantial decline in LNG prices has led to an increase in purchases on the spot market from Asian buyers, such as China, India, and Southeast Asian nations.

According to analysts cited by Reuters, this could see China break its own LNG import record, set back in 2021, and boost India’s intake of liquefied natural gas by 10% this year. In 2021, China imported 78.8 million tons of LNG.

Asia LNG purchases on the spot market totaled 161 cargoes over the first three months of the year, S&P Global data shows, which was an annual increase of about 33%, Reuters reported.

This increase is quite understandable when one looks at prices. The average price per million British thermal units of LNG this quarter stood at $9.82. A year ago, the average price was a whopping $18.75 per mmBtu.

"We've seen some buy tenders coming in more frequently given lower Asian LNG prices, especially from price-sensitive buyers like India, Vietnam and China," Kpler LNG analyst Ryhana Rasidi told Reuters.

"For this year, we believe that the increasing spot demand will contribute to raising overall Asian LNG demand."

The price decline came after a milder-than-expected winter in some parts of the northern hemisphere, which left more gas in storage. The continued growth in supply, especially in the United States, also helped drive prices down.

This year things may change as U.S. natural gas producers begin to scale back production in response to low domestic gas prices.


LNG demand is seen continuing on a growth trajectory, wherever prices go. Last month, a TotalEnergies executive forecast that this year, China and Europe will be the biggest drivers of LNG demand. Shell also expects China to lead the demand growth trend in LNG, where the supermajor sees a 50% increase in demand over the years to 2040.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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