Exports from Sabine Pass on track for new record

21 April 2017 23:36 Source:ICIS

Additional supply is available in the Atlantic basin as the 22.5mtpa Sabine Pass export project in the US Gulf is on track to load its highest number of cargoes in April than in any single month since it started production in February 2016, according to LNG Edge data.

Already this month, 12 cargoes have loaded at Cheniere Energy’s plant, with another six vessels scheduled to arrive by 30 April. This means that there could be a total of 18 cargoes loaded in April.

The previous high for one month is 15 cargoes, reached in January and February of this year.

The increased production was expected following the substantial completion of Train 3 at the end of March, and with Train 4 receiving governmental approval on 24 March to begin the commissioning process. Train 4 is expected to come online toward the end of 2017. Each train has a nameplate capacity of 4.5mtpa.

South Korea’s state LNG importer KOGAS is the long-term offtaker at Train 3. However, it is unclear if the state-owned LNG incumbent intends to begin lifting its Train 3 volumes from June.

The next vessel expected to load at Sabine Pass is the Cheniere-chartered 173,000cbm Oak Spirit on 23 April. Cheniere has chartered at least three other vessels to lift cargoes by the end of the month.

It is unclear how many of the April volumes are commissioning cargoes from Train 4. However, the marketing arm of Cheniere has ownership of commissioning cargoes, as well as rights to incremental production from Trains 1-4.

April Sabine Pass loadings have gone to Mexico, the Middle East, Asia and South America.

Elsewhere in the Americas, buying interest remains subdued in South America as the southern hemisphere winter, which typically runs from June through August, looms into view.

In Argentina, state-run buyer ENARSA has largely covered its winter demand through earlier tenders and has secured pipeline gas from Chile through the renewal of an agreement entered into last year.

In Chile, demand remains weak and a market source in the Atlantic basin said it does not expect to enter the spot market in the near term.

In Brazil, a source said there may be some incremental demand, though this would unlikely be comparable to previous years. Increased domestic gas production has offset lower hydropower generation due to low water levels across Brazilian reservoirs from a lack of rainfall. adam.yanelli@icis.com

By Adam Yanelli