Global supply trends

Published at 18:26 22 Feb 2019 by

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LNG supply posted healthy y/y gains over January and February, but there were no sequential gains on December 2018 numbers. A return to sequential gains will be harder now as LNG train maintenance season is set to begin, but y/y growth will persist as recently started trains (i.e. Yamal T3, Corpus Christi T1, Sabine Pass T5 and Prelude FLNG) continue to put more LNG into the market. We forecast that global LNG supply growth will be up by 31 Mt y/y in 2019 and then by as much as 26 Mt in 2020.

Global LNG exports were up by 3.4 Mt y/y but unchanged m/m at 32.2 Mt in January according to Kpler cargo-tracking data. The lack of sequential growth suggests only modest new LNG from the four trains that started commissioning in December 2018, although of those only the 4.5 Mtpa Corpus Christi T1 and the 5.5 Mtpa Yamal T3 were consistently exporting cargoes while the 3.6 Mtpa Prelude has still not apparently exported. Initial indications put February exports down sequentially, which is expected given the month is shorter, but up by 4.6 Mt y/y, pointing to a ramp-up of the new trains.

Exports from the Yamal trains remain strong, although after showing a considerable 0.34 Mt ramp-up m/m between November and December, flows have been consistently coming in just under 1.3 Mt per month, just under the nameplate capacity. US exports also saw sequential growth between October to December, but since then have hit a plateau at 2.5 Mt per month. February has come in lower m/m by 0.25 Mt, which was undoubtedly driven by an almost four-week shutdown (mid-January to mid-February) of exports from Corpus Christi as it underwent a final detailed check and maintenance before getting ready for commercial start-up. Sabine Pass exports peaked in December at 1.95 Mt, when the 4.5 Mtpa T5 appeared to export two commission cargoes, but since then have fallen. While 1.95 Mt is above the nameplate capacity of all five trains (1.88 Mtpm), it is unclear how much T5 is currently exporting, and that high number does suggest the first four trains are all performing above nameplate capacity. 

The other source of recent supply growth has been Australia, although its production plateaued in November and December at 6.5 Mt per month and has since eased sequentially over the first two months of 2019. The 4.2 Mtpa Ichthys T1 and 4.4 Mtpa Wheatstone trains appear to have fully ramped up, so sequential growth will now only come from the 4.2 Mtpa Ichthys T2 and Prelude.

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