Air Freight News

TTF sideways, East Asia spot LNG up despite unfavorable prices - Rystad Energy’s Gas and LNG Market Update

Jun 20, 2024

Europe’s Title Transfer Facility (TTF) price for July 2024 deliveries remains sideways at $11.01 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) as of the time of writing on 19 June, compared to $11.11 per MMBtu a week ago on 12 June.

Most of the activity in the past week has revolved around perceived activity and weather forecasts in Asia.

A potentially warm summer in the northern hemisphere is being assessed by market players, although the current high prices are incentivizing a more patient approach to evaluating summer demand.

The TTF has remained at a standstill compared to last week, as news of maintenance on Norwegian pipelines have eased compared to previous weeks.

Heating demand is expected to decrease due to warmer-than-expected weather ahead.

June has been unexpectedly cold in much of Western Europe this year, with a transition from heating to mild cooling only coming in late June.

The East Asia spot LNG price for August deliveries has increased to $12.60 per MMBtu as of 19 June, compared to $12 per MMBtu on 11 June, due to an outage at the Wheatstone LNG export facility in Western Australia and bids from outside the East Asian market.

In the US, the Henry Hub price had decreased to $2.89 per MMBtu at the time of writing on 19 June, compared to $3.05 a week earlier on 12 June.

The heat dome has continued its path to the US Midwest and Northeast, although prices have come down on forecasts of increased dry gas production and reduced feedgas to LNG terminals in the past week.
Europe

Norwegian gas pipeline flows were at 324.89 million cubic meters per day (MMcmd) as of 19 June, compared to 336.50 MMcmd on 12 June.

The lack of any meaningful news on unplanned Norwegian maintenance earlier in the week has kept TTF prices rangebound.

The only exception was unplanned maintenance at Nyhamma due to a sudden power outage on 18 June.

This provided a slight upward pressure to TTF prices, but was short-lived as the facility returned to full capacity on 19 June.

An extension of maintenance at Skarv also provided slight upward pressure on prices, although the 5 MMcmd disruption is minimal.

Russian gas pipeline flows to Europe were at 99 MMcmd as of 17 June, compared to 93.45 MMcmd as of 11 June.

Temperatures in Northwest Europe have been unexpectedly cold through June, although forecasts are now pointing towards the weather being warmer-than-average for the rest of the month, reducing demand for heating during this period.

Temperatures will enter the threshold for cooling by the end of June, creating some increase in gas-for-power demand for cooling purposes.

Gas-for-power demand is also expected to be relatively higher than in previous weeks, as wind generation forecasts are expected to trend downwards.

Overall, considering the above factors, net demand for gas is expected to trend downwards for the remainder of June until July.

Europe’s gas storage levels were 84.20 billion cubic meters (Bcm) or 73.6% full on 17 June, compared to 82.21 Bcm or 71.9% full on 10 June.

This is comparable to last year, when storage levels were at 83.75 Bcm or 73.7% full as of 17 June 2023.

Asia

East Asia spot LNG prices have risen to $12.60 per MMBtu, remaining in a range that is not desirable for players in the market.
The greatest impact to prices has been the extension of an outage at Wheatstone LNG, which is expected to return on 27 June.

Despite the lack of spot activity, prices may have also been driven upward by a bid from Egypt’s EGAS seeking 17 summer cargoes for delivery across July to September.

Weather forecasts from the Japan Meteorogical Agency are pointing towards a 70% or more probability of warmer-than-normal temperatures across most of Japan, except for Shikoku and Kyushu where the probability is 50% or more.

The Korean Meteorological Administration is also pointing towards warm weather, with a 40% or more probability of warmer-than-normal temperatures expected throughout South Korea until the third week of July.

The evolving weather forecasts continues to play a big part in anticipated gas demand for East Asia, although a lack of spot activity from East Asian players continues to indicate that planned power and fuel supplies may be sufficient for summer demand at present.

This may also be influenced by prices in the $12 per MMBtu range still not being ideal for any optimization.

Japanese utilities reported LNG inventories of 2.14 million tonnes (Mt) as of 16 June, which is lower than the 2.38 Mt reported a year ago on 18 June 2023, but higher than the 2.01 Mt reported for the five-year average up to end-June.

US

The heat dome has continued to move towards the US Midwest and Northeast, with New York expected to experience major or extreme heat risk from 20-23 June.

The number of cooling degree days (CDDs) is expected to remain higher than normal until 4 July as a result of the heat.

US dry gas production was reported to be at 99.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd) as of the week ending 12 June, down slightly from the 99.6 Bcfd reported for the week of 19 June.

Dry gas production is forecast to increase to 102.8 Bcfd in July, according to Rystad Energy estimates.

This is net bearish for prompt Henry Hub prices despite the recent warm weather, as operators begin higher production on the back of stronger Henry Hub prices and anticipated higher summer demand.

Feedgas into LNG terminals averaged 12.7 Bcfd from 11-17 June, lower than the average of 13.1 Bcfd from 4-10 June, which may have contributed to lower demand in the Henry Hub.
Feedgas levels are anticipated to pick up in the coming weeks, with the 1.4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) Altamira FLNG expected to start-up in July, after a delay in its final commissioning stages. The floating LNG terminal originally expected to export its first cargo in June.

US gas storage levels were reported to be at 2,974 billon cubic feet (Bcf) as of 7 June, above the five-year maximum of 2,831 Bcf.
This is also higher than the 2,610 Bcf reported this time a year ago, and the 2,401 Bcf reported as the five-year average from 2019-23.

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