June 9 (Reuters) - Asian spot LNG prices were steady this week, with supply availability from projects in Asia-Pacific balancing new demand and uncertainty over the impact of a row between top LNG exporter Qatar and fellow Gulf states.
Spot prices for July delivery LNG-AS edged up by five cents to $5.45 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), while August traded at the same level.
Supply was available from a number of projects in Australia, Malaysia and Angola, which offered two cargoes via spot tender this week.
India’s GPSC cancelled a tender to buy an LNG cargo in July, likely as a result of unsatisfactory price offers, while Pakistan also pushed back deliveries of four cargoes sought via tender to October from September.
Nigeria sold three cargoes via tender this week, and Argentina was to award its 16-cargo buy tender.
“Everyone was playing the Qatar crisis down this week. Qatar has enough shorts to mitigate the crisis,” a Singapore-based trader said, referring to the producer’s outlets in Europe.
Trafigura’s Golar Glacier tanker, carrying Qatari LNG, has moored nearby to Egypt’s Ain Sukhna import terminal but has not unloaded yet. Traders do not expect Egypt to impose any restrictions on tankers carrying LNG from Qatar.
Two Qatari LNG tankers diverted away from the Suez Canal on Thursday - which traders had expected to arrive in Britain - are now both on a heading to sail around Africa, shipping data shows.
Diversions in the Gulf of Aden left Britain facing a lack of deliveries for the rest of June, lifting prices at the UK’s National Balancing Point trading hub, and driving speculation of potential links to the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
But their revised heading indicates that Qatar may have opted at the last-minute to take the ships the long way around Africa, instead of via Egypt’s Suez Canal - delaying their arrival in the UK.
Shipping analysts Kpler estimate both tankers will arrive at the UK’s South Hook import terminal in the first week of July.
Demand from Japanese utilities has been muted this summer because Japanese consumers have asked producers to supply more cargoes from their long term commitments ahead of likely nuclear restarts later in the year, a second trader from a Japanese trading firm said.
These requests have displaced traditional Japanese summer demand for spot cargoes, the trader added.
South Korea remains the key Asian buyer this summer, market participants said, with Komipo launching a tender seeking an early-July cargo this week.
On the demand side, India’s Torrent Power unveiled demand for 36 LNG cargoes across a three-year period from 2018, and invited suppliers to provide price offers. (Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic in London and Mark Tay in Singapore,; editing by Alexander Smith)