Eastern Asian LNG gross imports declined by 3.9% in 2015 to 152.8 Mt

Eastern Asian LNG gross imports fell by 3.9% in 2015

In 2015, LNG imports in Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan reached a total of 152.8 Mt, which represents a 3.9% decrease compared to 2014 (159 Mt). The drop was steady throughout the year, even though it slowed down in the fourth quarter, when imports decreased by 3.1% year-on-year against a rate of over 4% in the previous quarters.

Eastern Asian LNG gross imports fellIn Japan, which accounts for about a third of the world LNG consumption, imports dropped by 3.9%, from 88.5 Mt in 2014 to 85 Mt in 2015. The bulk of the decline was caused by the drop of LNG use in the power sector: the ten privately-owned electric power companies of Japan, which bought 55.7 Mt of LNG in 2015, reduced their consumption of LNG by 4.8% (-2.7 Mt). On the one hand, this decline is explained by an overall drop in power generation in 2015 (-5.1% to 685 TWh) caused by above than average temperature in the spring and lower than average temperature in June and September, which reduced demand for heating and cooling. On the other hand, the 13.7 % increase of hydro, new energy and nuclear power impacted the use of thermal plants. The electricity generated by thermal plants declined by 6.8% so that besides LNG, consumption of coal, heavy fuel oil and crude oil by power companies decreased by 1.6%, 19.3% and 23.4% respectively. In addition, city gas sales of the top-3 natural gas utilities dropped by 0.9% mostly because of lower consumption in the residential and business sectors.

International Gas Prices – February 5 , 2016

NBP: going down

NBP coalThe NBP fell from €22/MWh ($7/MBtu) in March 2015 to €14.5/MWh ($4.6/MBtu) in January 2016, which represents a decline of 35%. This decrease is consistent with the general trend in energy prices over the same period: coal was down by 25%, oil by 45% and the average price of Japanese LNG by 35%.

The NBP stood at about €13.2/MWh ($4.2/MBtu) at the beginning of February and is expected to keep sliding. The futures markets anticipate a price of €12.2-12.4/MWh ($4.0-4.1/MBtu) for next summer. These forecasts are in line not only with the decrease in the average six-month oil price, which will also hit bottom next summer, but also with expected coal price trends. The average NBP for 2016 is now pegged at €13.2/MWh ($4.3/MBtu), i.e. 34% lower than in 2015.

European LNG net imports grew by 16.6 % in 2015

European LNG net imports grew by 16.6% in 2015

LNG net imports in EuropeIn 2015, LNG net imports grew by 16.6% in Europe as demand for natural gas grew in the region. As a consequence of more deliveries (+1.8 Mt) and less reloads (-2.68 Mt), net imports increased by 4.47 Mt up to 31.35 Mt. Except in France, where gross imports decreased from 5.07 Mt to 4.77 Mt while re-expors slightly decreased (-0.03 Mt), and in Greece, where imports were flat at around 0.45 Mt, net imports increased everywhere because of various factors.