Spot LNG shipping rates rise for first time since November

Spot charter rates for the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier fleet rose for the first time since mid-November 2023, while European prices decreased this week compared to the week before.

Last week, the Atlantic rate dropped 1 percent week-on-week to $52,750 per day and the Pacific rate decreased 3 percent to $53,250 per day.

Qasim Afghan, Spark’s commercial analyst, told LNG Prime on Friday that the Spark30S Atlantic increased by $1,750 (3 percent) to $54,500 per day, whilst the Spark25S Pacific increased by $4,250 (8 percent) to $57,500 per day.

“The opening of the US arb to NE-Asia, coupled with the increased voyage time from the diversion of cargoes unable to transit Suez, are both likely contributory factors to this increase,” he said.

Spot LNG shipping rates rise for first time since November
Image: Spark

LNG ships, including Qatari vessels delivering LNG shipments to Europe, are now favoring the Cape of Good Hope for safer passage.

Kpler said in a report last week that the Suez Canal has witnessed no LNG transits since January 17.

Vessels face an extra 21-day voyage time on a round-trip basis via the Cape of Good Hope as opposed to the Suez Canal, according to Kpler.

The firm said on Thursday that Qatar’s LNG export rose in January despite Red Sea disruptions.

“Despite a temporary halt in Red Sea transit, Qatar’s LNG exports soared in January to 7.58 million tonnes, up from December’s 7.11 million tonnes, securing its position as the world’s second-largest exporter after the US,” Kpler said.

“With increased shipments to Asia and a strategic shift in shipping routes, Qatar showcases resilience amidst challenges and shipped 5 percent more LNG to Asia in January than it did the month prior,” it said.

European and Asian prices

In Europe, the SparkNWE DES LNG front month dropped compared to the last week.

The NWE DES LNG for March delivery was assessed last week at $8.561/MMBtu and at a $0.64/MMBtu discount to the TTF.

“The SparkNWE DES LNG price for March delivery is assessed at $8.172/MMBtu and at a $0.60/MMBtu discount to the TTF,” Afghan said.

He said this is a $0.389/MMBtu decrease in DES LNG price, and a $0.04/MMBtu narrowing of the discount to the TTF.

Spot LNG shipping rates rise for first time since November
Image: Spark

Levels of gas in storages in Europe remain high for this time of the year due to mild weather.

Data by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) shows that gas storages in the EU were 67.87 percent full on February 7.

This week, JKM, the price for LNG cargoes delivered to Northeast Asia, dropped slightly when compared to the last week, according to Platts data.

JKM for March settled at $9.450/MMBtu on Thursday.

State-run Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) said last week that demand remained weak with high inventory levels across Northeast Asia, although daily price declines have stimulated buying interest from China, India, Thailand, and other Asian countries.

JOGMEC did not publish the arrival-based or the contract-based monthly spot LNG price in January as there were less than two companies that imported spot LNG.

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