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Japan, China and South Korea compete for LNG as cold wave hits

World's top three importers rush to secure limited supplies as prices jump

An LNG ship docks at a power plant of JERA in Futtsu, Chiba. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

TOKYO -- Japan, China and South Korea have become locked in a scramble for limited supplies of liquefied natural gas, sending prices spiking amid a cold snap.

Asian LNG spot prices have roughly tripled over the past month to more than $30 per million British thermal unit. Even as U.S. Henry Hub spot prices hold steady around $3 per million Btu, the Asian LNG benchmark, which dates back more than a decade, sets records on a daily basis.

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