Stuck Australian Gas Tanker May Spur Global LNG Price Rise

Vessel Without Power Docked at Australia Pacific LNG Facility
Australian LNG processing equipment
Liquefied natural gas processing equipment at Shell's Queensland Curtis LNG plant on Curtis Island, Australia. (Ian Waldie/Bloomberg News)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

A loaded liquefied natural gas tanker is stuck at an export terminal in Australia and will disrupt some shipments, adding to supply concerns ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter.

The vessel lost power at a berth at the Australia Pacific LNG facility, on Curtis Island in Queensland, and is currently unable to leave, Origin Energy Ltd. said Nov. 28 in a statement. Cesi Qingdao is moored at APLNG and had been scheduled to sail to Wenzhou, China, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Only one LNG vessel is able to dock at the LNG facility at a time,” said Origin, a part owner of the APLNG venture with ConocoPhillips and Sinopec. “As a result, no other cargoes can be loaded until the situation is resolved.”

Two cargoes have been deferred from a delivery schedule for the financial year through June, and it’s expected that additional shipments will also be impacted, Origin said.

“We have assessed and planned for scenarios to best manage the supply through the APLNG facility while the situation is being resolved — this includes deferring all cargoes as required,” ConocoPhillips, which operates the plant and typically loads a vessel for export every three days, said in a separate statement.

LNG exports map

LNG prices in North Asia have held near $16 a million British thermal units over the past month, above their five-year seasonal average but about half the level in the previous two years, even as Europe built up unprecedented inventories.

Sinopec, one of the APLNG owners, was contacting suppliers this week to check availability of prompt delivery cargoes to China, according to traders. However, there likely isn’t much of a rush to replace shipments as demand in the region remains relatively weak heading into winter, the traders added. Cnooc, another Chinese buyer, was offering to sell a shipment from a different Australian plant for January.

New outages, adverse weather or additional curbs on Russian gas could spur more price volatility and exacerbate global LNG supply risks, Bloomberg Intelligence said in a November report. Australia is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of the fuel.

Origin, which holds a 27.5% share in APLNG, fell as much as 1.3% in Sydney trading.

The Sydney-based utility, which runs onshore gas fields that feed the LNG facility, will reduce production and is taking steps to sell more into Australia’s domestic market.

Origin’s board is currently considering a revised takeover proposal from a Brookfield Asset Management Ltd.-led group, under which EIG Global Energy Partners would acquire the company’s stake in APLNG.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: