The latest buzz word on LNG: GLUT

In 2015 LNG supply and demand are out of balance on world markets. As of 2015 brand new trains have commenced coming on-line both in Australia and the US whilst demand has slacked off in Asia, Europe and Latin America to the extent where analysts are now speaking of a LNG glut on world markets. Asian and European spot prices now follow each other closely whilst brand new production enters the market without the boon in Asian prices to contribute to profit maximisation. At best margins are razor thin as seen in the cost structure of US shale gas LNG with a processing cost of USD 2 per MMBTU and a shipping cost of USD 3 per MMBTU to Asia and Asian spot prices below USD 7/8 per MMBTU. Japanese utility companies who bought LNG following the Fukushima disaster in larger quantities are now showing a preference for coal given the collapse in Asian commodity prices. The EU has not embraced LNG as was forecasted as they continue to utilise coal to generate electricity and have embraced Russian supplied  gas even tighter inspite of the sanctions against Russia. The message is then clear that in times of economic slowdown LNG buyers in Asia and Europe switch to alternate fuel even though they are not green or they forego politics and embrace the energy rich outcast. The relevant reality is the move by Asian buyers of LNG to now create in this glutted market an Asian spot market for LNG. Having adopted the position that the stream of new LNG trains placed in Asia and the long term oversupply of the market suppliers must now end their demand for long term contracts from buyers. Cheniere LNG of the US has responded to this market reality by allowing its contracted buyers especially those in Asia to sell onwards LNG purchased on long term contracts with no return on this to Cheniere thereby boosting the Asian spot market. US LNG is once again changing the order of the LNG business. The glut will disappear only when the level of demand outstrips supply and the LNG stored in tanks and tankers around the world disappear. The estimate for this re-balancing is in the 2020’s. The lesson for T&T again is the fact that the paradigm that informed the creation of LNG trains in T&T is no longer sustainable as it has been falsified. The gas reserves of T&T must now feed manufacturing plants that increase the added value of products manufactured in T&T. Yes we need smelters and plants that turn the outputs into high value products. That is where the well paying jobs will be generated. Hard decisions are now necessary. Haiti beckons!!!


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