China steps up LNG imports from Nigeria

China’s state-owned buyers have stepped up imports from Nigeria LNG (NLNG), with six cargoes delivered to the country’s LNG terminals so far this year.

China imported two cargoes from Nigeria  LNG, NLNG, in the period January and February 2014 and seven cargoes for the year as a whole — all in the first seven months, according to Platts ship tracking software and China’s import data.

The increase comes during limited inter-basin arbitrage opportunities caused by weak demand and falling spot prices in Asian markets, according to Platts’ shiptracking software cFlow.

In the period January to February 2014, the NBP-JKM spread averaged $7.382/MMBtu versus $1.676/MMBtu in the same delivery months in 2015.

But most of the deliveries were heard to be part of long-term supply deals between China’s state-owned buyers and portfolio sellers, sources said.

State-owned Petrochina received a Nigerian cargo aboard the LNG carrier Solaris at its Rudong terminal in China’s eastern Jiangsu province Wednesday.

Sources said the cargo was likely a spot delivery by Shell, which currently controls the vessel and has no known long-term contracts with the buyer.

Petrochina was heard to have secured a spot cargo in H2 December for delivery in late January or early February in the mid-to-high $9s/MMBtu, but it was unclear at the time whether Shell was the seller.

Petrochina received another NLNG-sourced cargo aboard the Neo Energy to its Tangshan terminal in China’s northern Hebei province on January 15.

Portfolio seller BG was heard to have delivered this cargo as part of an agreement signed with PetroChina in 2014 for the supply of LNG from the seller’s portfolio.

No further details on the timeline, quantity or price of the deal were immediately available.

Elsewhere, China’s state owned buyer CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corp.) received its fourth NLNG cargo of 2015 Wednesday, according to cFlow.

The Maran Gas Coronis delivered the cargo to CNNOC’s Tianjin FSRU on Wednesday, cFlow data showed.

Previous NLNG deliveries to CNOOC include cargoes aboard LNG River Orashi to Shanghai LNG on February 2, the LNG Adamawa to Shanghai LNG on January 25 and the Gaslog Santiago to Tianjin FSRU on January 10.

The seller of at least some of these volumes was portfolio player BG, which has current long-term contracts with CNOOC for the supply of 3.6 million mt/year — four to five cargoes a month — according to a source close to the buyer.

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