September 13, 2017 8:19 am JST

Asian LNG prices spike as Hurricane Harvey disrupts exports

Seasonal upswing in demand compounding supply concerns

Flood waters from Hurricane Harvey inundated a Texas oil refinery run by Motiva Enterprises. © Reuters

TOKYO -- Spot prices for liquefied natural gas have swelled in recent weeks in Asia, as the massive storm that struck the southern U.S. late last month held up exports from the area.

Asian spot prices hovered in the mid-$6 range per million British thermal units in early September, up 10% from a month earlier and the highest since mid-February.

The fuel had moved narrowly in the $5 range since March amid a surplus of supply. Prices began edging upward in late July as buyers began preparing for a rise in demand from power companies ahead of winter, when demand for heating boosts power consumption. Hurricane Harvey came on top of this seasonal trend.

Shipments from the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana were halted for more than a week, with tankers forced to wait in the Gulf of Mexico. Shipping reportedly resumed Sept. 6. Though the storm's impact is expected to fade quickly, some say LNG prices will remain prone to upward pressure as winter approaches.

(Nikkei)

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