GAS | LNG

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LNG Weekly – EU imports edge up but hover near 1-month lows

(Montel) LNG imports into Europe and Turkey edged up 3% last week to 2.9bcm from the one-month low hit in the prior seven days amid Qatari diversions and low demand, preliminary Kpler ship-tracking data showed on Monday.

However, arrivals of the chilled fuel were expected to rise 5% this week to almost 3.1bcm with more Qatari vessels but would remain below the highs seen in January, when weekly supply averaged 3.4bcm.

In the month to date, imports were down more than 15% month on month at 4.7bcm.

European LNG demand remained tepid amid high gas storage levels and healthy supply, said market participants.

Strong storage
With just over a month and a half till the end of winter, European gas storage was last seen 67% full, just half a percentage point lower year on year, while LNG stocks fell 6 percentage points week on week to 48%, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe.

Additionally, Qatari vessels that diverted about a month ago due to the conflict in the Middle East are now arriving on European shores again, though the exporter was still favouring Asia over Europe for spot shipments.

Asian LNG demand also remained low, however, especially with the Lunar New Year starting last Saturday, with a one-week holiday in China, participants said.

Prices were mostly unchanged last week “as subdued demand was met by ongoing supply issues”, said analysts at ANZ bank.

Low prices
Asian prices on the benchmark JKM marker were hovering near recent eight-month lows of USD 9.44/MMbtu and tracking European prices lower but they offered around a USD 1/MMBtu premium to equivalents on the Dutch TTF.

“Fears of energy shortages appear to have abated, with supply and demand looking evenly balanced in 2024,” said ANZ, adding, however, that risks remained.

India could also surprise to the upside, while “risks of disruptions to supply also remain elevated”, said the bank, citing European sanctions on Russian LNG shipments that were under consideration and ongoing tensions in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the profitability of shipping a US cargo from Sabine Pass directly to Europe was slightly more profitable than to Asia through the Cape of Good Hope, according to Spark Commodities data.

But Asian prices were likely to rise after the holiday amid increased Chinese demand, said a China-based LNG trader.

European LNG imports
Countries:Previous weekMonth to date
Belgium0.340.43
Croatia0.090.09
Finland0.000.00
France0.410.75
Germany0.090.14
Greece0.090.09
Italy0.290.43
Lithuania0.000.08
Malta0.000.00
Netherlands0.380.66
Poland0.100.10
Portugal0.100.18
Spain0.390.53
Turkey0.450.83
UK0.200.39
Total2.924.70

*Previous completed vessel arrivals, including discharge, according to Montel calculations based on Kpler estimates

European LNG storage levels (GIE)
CountryLatest    (% of capacity)Previous week
Belgium7728
Croatia12342
France4969
Germany5858
Greece5255
Italy4550
Lithuania7018
Netherlands25109
Poland1446
Portugal2230
Spain4946
EU combined4854