Europe is poised to receive a cargo reloaded at a Chinese LNG import terminal, as the region remains the global premium market for LNG and weaker demand leads Chinese firms to resell cargoes.
The 155,000m³ Gaslog Singapore loaded a cargo at the 3mn t/yr Yangpu terminal in China's Hainan around 1-4 January, after delivering a cargo at South Korea's 3mn t/yr Boryeong LNG terminal. It sailed back towards Europe with a reported draft of 11m, consistent with a laden vessel.
The LNG carrier was about to enter the Adriatic Sea on 21 January, declaring for arrival on 22 January. There are only two LNG import facilities within the Adriatic — Italy's 5.7mn t/yr Adriatic LNG and Croatia's 2.05mn t/yr Krk LNG terminals. But the declared date of arrival would be consistent with a scheduled delivery of around 940GWh (136,000m³ of LNG) at the Italian terminal. No LNG carriers were declaring for arrival at the facility on 22 January, with shiptracking data suggesting that no other laden carriers could reach the facility in time for this delivery slot.
Shiptracking data suggest the vessel is chartered to German utility RWE, market participants said.
Continued outbreaks of Covid-19, above-average temperatures and ample LNG stocks in China at the beginning of January has weighed on the country's LNG demand. A number of Chinese firms have sought to sell LNG cargoes to the spot market in recent days, with state-controlled Sinopec's trading arm Unipec offering up to 45 cargoes on a des basis for delivery over February-October, while fellow state-controlled firm CNOOC offered an unspecified number of cargoes for May-November. The tenders come after a number of Chinese firms have been marketing surplus prompt volumes back to the spot market.
A slowdown in Asian LNG demand has already spurred firms to reroute cargoes to European terminals in recent weeks as European delivered prices have turned to a premium to the northeast Asian market.