MILAN/LONDON, May 27 (Reuters) - Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices rose while warming temperatures in the Middle East coupled with the start of Ramadan next week looked set to boost regional electricity consumption.
Spot LNG prices in Asia inched up to $4.70 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up 5 cents from last week, but remain highly sensitive to any additional supply.
“It just needs Angola to load a couple of cargoes or Gorgon to load a cargo and the whole thing is going to come off,” said a Europe-based trader.
The Chevron-led Angola LNG project, shut down in April 2014 following a pipe rupture, is expected to resume exports soon, a project spokeswoman has said, but exact timings are sketchy as traders cite delays.
Australia’s Gorgon scheme, operated by Chevron, re-started operations last week after an unplanned shutdown in April, but fresh supply is not expected until next month, sources said.
Guiding gains in Asian LNG spot prices was a 10 percent weekly jump in gas futures prices at Britain’s trading hub, the National Balancing Point, and slightly stronger crude oil, traders said.
In the Middle East traders expected demand from Kuwait and Dubai.
“The summer has got warm fairly quickly and Ramadan starts in around two weeks’ time... so power demand is going to be strong through June and the first part of July,” the Europe-based trader said.
Egypt’s state gas company EGAS said it will launch a tender next week to import 10 LNG cargoes for delivery in July and August.
It is expected to pay premium prices to allay suppliers’ credit concerns.
Australia’s North West Shelf plant is offering to sell up to three cargoes loading in June 26-30.
Portugal’s Galp Energia is holding a tender to sell four to six cargoes annually over five years, while Poland’s state oil and gas firm PGNiG committed to buying one cargo from Statoil.
Trinidad is also heard to be tendering to sell a cargo.
On the demand side, Argentinian state-run buyer Enarsa on May 20 publicly disclosed the winners of a nine cargo tender for the first time.
Shell swept the board with five cargoes awarded while Gas Natural will deliver two and BP and Vitol one each, according to disclosures on state-run Enarsa’s website.
Malaysia’s Petronas has lined up the trading arm of French energy company EDF to buy limited LNG volumes over three years, working out to one delivery per quarter.
London-based EDF Trading struck a separate deal to buy up to 1.5 million tonnes of LNG from Japan’s JERA between June 2018 and December 2020. (Editing by Ruth Pitchford)