South Korean state-owned Korea Gas Corp.'s LNG sales rose 15.8% year on year to 2.655 million mt in October, a company official said Nov. 18, driven by the shutdown of several nuclear reactors and the country's push to transition toward cleaner fuels.
The uptick marked the 11th consecutive month of year-on-year increase since last December, and sales were also up 18.1% from September, the company's data showed.
Kogas, which has a monopoly in domestic natural gas sales, did not disclose how much LNG it sold over January-October, but S&P Global Platts calculations based on the company's earlier data showed it sold 29.269 million mt over the 10-month period, up 18.1% year on year.
Sales to power generators rose 29% year on year to comprise 1.387 million mt of the October total, while sales to retail gas companies for households and businesses rose 4.2% to 1.268 million mt.
The rise in LNG demand for power production in October was due mainly to the shutdown of several nuclear reactors for maintenance and the government's drive to reduce coal-fired power production, the Kogas official said.
Six nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 6 GW are currently offline for maintenance or malfunction, accounting for 25.8% of the country's overall capacity of 23.25 GW across 24 nuclear reactors.
The country's LNG demand is expected to rise further before year end due to forecasts of lower-than-usual winter temperatures, and with many nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants remaining offline.
The government has decided not to raise domestic natural gas prices in response to recent surges in LNG import costs as part of efforts to ease upward pressure on inflation, and recently lowered import tariffs on LNG to zero for six months from Nov. 12, from 3% over October-March and 2% over April-September.
South Korea's LNG imports rose 1.4% year on year to 3.902 million mt in October, customs data showed, despite higher import prices, amid the strong domestic demand.
Over January-October, imports rose 19% year on year to 38.237 million mt, the data showed.