Natural gas deliveries to the six major US LNG export terminals have been flowing at full bore since mid-March as global gas prices continued to support shipments of the fuel.

Market observers expected US terminals to keep operating at close to their full capacity in the months ahead, when seasonal demand is typically lower. Total flows were about 11.4 bcf/d on March 28, continuing to hover around record levels, according to pipeline flow data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

S&P Global Platts Analytics has pointed to summer prices that remain favourable following tighter-than-expected winter demand, along with other factors such as available storage capacity in Europe and shipping costs that have fallen since the beginning of 2021. The benchmark LNG price for North Asia, the S&P Global Platts Japan Korea Marker, was assessed at $6.813/mmbtu for May on March 29.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs recently estimated an average 85 percent utilisation rate at US LNG export terminals during the summer, an outlook that reflects occasional feedgas fluctuations because of maintenance and other temporary events.

The total feedgas deliveries in March represented a sharp rebound. An extreme cold snap in Texas during mid-February had impacted operations at Gulf Coast gas liquefaction and export terminals. Flows to the major US export facilities bottomed at about 2.2 bcf/d on February 16 during the winter weather, but the deliveries quickly recovered.

The ramp-up in deliveries was pronounced at Cheniere Energy Inc’s Corpus Christi LNG terminal, where deliveries totalled about 2.4 bcf/d on March 28.

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7th April 2021