Asian spot prices rise

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    SINGAPORE- Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose on expected delays to delivery of cargoes as a big container ship stuck in the Suez Canal caused tankers to be diverted.

    The average LNG price for May delivery into Northeast Asia was estimated at about $6.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up 25 cents from the previous week, industry sources said.

    Seven LNG tankers are being diverted away from the Suez Canal after traffic was suspended through the key waterway where the container ship has been stuck since Tuesday, data intelligence firm Kpler said.

    Three of the tankers are being diverted towards the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope, Kpler analyst Rebecca Chia said, adding that majority of the diverted tankers originally signaled for Suez Canal are now headed elsewhere.

    The blockage may delay delivery to Europe of about 1 million tons of LNG on 10 vessels if it lasts for two weeks, researcher Rystad Energy said.

    A planned maintenance in Qatar was also boosting prices, traders said.

    “It’s re-stocking season with buyers in Europe and Asia trying to restock inventories after the cold winter caused demand to spike,” a Singapore-based trader said.

    Spot demand from buyers in Asia was also firm this week, traders said.

    South Korea’s Komipo and POSCO issued a joint tender to buy a cargo for May delivery while Taiwan’s CPC Corp is seeking a cargo also for May, they said.