Singapore LNG spot index falls to lowest since 2014 amid glut

A ship bearing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the two tanks at Singapore's first LNG terminal.
A ship bearing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the two tanks at Singapore's first LNG terminal.ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - A Singapore liquefied natural gas spot index has dropped to the lowest since it started as new production capacity in Australia and the US adds to a global oversupply.

The index price fell for the sixth consecutive week to US$5.461 per million British thermal units on Monday (Jan 18), the lowest since the price assessments began in September 2014, according to Singapore's Energy Market Co. The spot price for LNG shipments to north-east Asia have tumbled to US$6.45, matching the lowest price since 2010, according to New York-based Energy Intelligence Group.

"We are moving from deficit to excess in the Asian spot market in 2016," Mr David Hewitt, the co-head of global oil and gas equity research at Credit Suisse Group, said by phone. "Spot prices can go a little further lower than what we are seeing. There is further pressure in the spot market, and I think it runs not just through 2016, but at least into 2017 and maybe beyond."

Asia LNG suppliers are grappling with a global supply glut and tepid demand as low energy prices for alternative fuels, including coal, lure utilities. Global LNG output is expected to rise by a third to about 330 million metric tonnes annually by 2018, according to Sanford C Bernstein & Co.

Chevron Corp's Gorgon project off north-west Australia, the most expensive LNG project in history at US$54 billion (S$77.5 billion), is getting ready to commence deliveries to the Asian market later this year. The first LNG shipment from Origin Energy Ltd project in Australia to Asia left earlier this month.

The US may become a net exporter of gas, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts. The first of what's expected to be a deluge of LNG shipments out of the lower 48 states is slated to leave Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass terminal on the US Gulf Coast as soon as February.