Editor’s Note: This content is provided courtesy of Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS). Visit natgasintel.com/icis for more information.

LONDON (ICIS) — Price spreads between Europe and Asia widened earlier in the week but had narrowed again by 16 November.

Demand from Asia is expected to rise with the approach of cold weather, with more participants saying they were planning to deploy floating storage in both basins until mid-January. Asia imported less LNG year-on-year in October and so far in November, with Europe already expected to almost double LNG imports for the whole month of November.

Sources in the US said most domestic gas traders expect the Freeport plant restart could occur sometime in December, with potential for the restart to be later in the first quarter. Freeport LNG Development LP said Friday the plant will begin initial operations in December and ramp up to 2 Bcf/d by January.

Freeport delays are helping to encourage longer floating storage plays into January as uncertainty exists over when a restart will happen.

Selling Activity 

India’s GAIL issued a swap tender for January and February 2023 cargoes earlier this week.

GAIL is offering to sell two cargoes loading on 28 January and 5 February, both from US-plant Cove Point, where GAIL has long-term offtake.

In exchange, GAIL is seeking two cargoes for delivery into Dabhol for 6-15 January and 1-7 February. Offers are due by 17 November.

Italy’s Eni is set to deliver the second-ever Egyptian cargo into Italy’s Panigaglia terminal on board the laden Portovenere, ICIS LNG Edge showed.

Exports from Egypt could hit a record for November based on higher exports from the country so far this month.

Buying Limited For Now

Thailand’s PTT did not make any awards for its recent three-cargo buy tender, market sources said. The tender requested cargoes for 20-24 December, 13-14 January and 20-21 January in 2023. Offers were due on 16 November, but sources said no award was made.

CNPC, China’s largest oil and gas provider, expects total gas demand could reach 187–190bcm from November to March, an increase of 5-7% year on year.

Warm weather and Covid restrictions are expected to result in lower gas consumption this year compared to 2021. A total of 35% of gas will rely on pipeline and LNG imports, according to projections.

France’s ENGIE secured 30TWh/year of regasification capacity at the Fos Cavaou LNG terminal for the period 2025-2040. French buyers are also well-positioned to organize swaps on excess cargoes in higher-demand LNG markets in Europe.

European government representatives have met to discuss details of the European Commission’s proposal for a cap on gas prices on 16 November.

The proposed cap would be triggered if the spread between the spot TTF price and a basket of spot LNG prices is above a certain level for a set number of days.

Northern Sea Route

The Northern Sea Route (NSR), the Arctic passage for exporting LNG from Russia to northeast Asia, has frozen over and is closing to LNG shipping, according to industry sources.

As of 15 November, the 172,000cbm Boris Davydov appeared to be the only LNG vessel currently transiting ballast through the NSR. It delivered a cargo to China on 5 November.