Soc Gen Says China May Look for US LNG Deals in Future

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China may look to buy US LNG volumes in the future as an alternative to buying more gas from Russia, one European gas analyst said.

Soc Gen analyst Thierry Bros said in a report Tuesday that, with US Gulf Coast LNG expected to materialize in 2016, China will likely first look into a potential US LNG deal before signing a gas supply agreement with Gazprom.

The bank estimates the minimum breakeven cost for US Gulf Coast LNG delivered into China, taking shipping into account, would work out at around $11.6/MMBtu. This allows plenty of room for negotiations between companies selling US LNG and the Chinese from $13.50/MMBtu — which would allow a minimum of 15% return on investment — and $22/MMBtu — which takes into account full oil indexation — Societe Generale added.

The $13.5 to $22/MMBtu negotiation range translates into a price of oil between $77/b and $133/b, or an oil-indexation formula with a slope between 0.10 and 0.17. This is large enough to match a Russian pipe-gas oil-index price,” Bros said.

As a result, Societe Generale believes China will prefer to look further into US LNG rather than rely on securing an agreement with Gazprom, which could further delay negotiations between Russia and China.

Judging by the seeming lack of any progress in the gas pricing issue during [Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin’s recent visit to China, it seems Beijing is in no particular hurry to sign the contract,” Bros said.

In 2006, Moscow and Beijing signed an initial agreement on gas supplies, when they agreed to construct two pipelines to transport a total of 68 billion cubic meters/year of gas from Russia to China over 30 years. Gazprom and China’s state-owned CNPC in 2010 subsequently signed a legally binding agreement on the supply of up to 30 Bcm/year.

Negotiations since then have not gone as smoothly and have been bogged down by pricing disagreements. Putin’s recent visit to Beijing in October didn’t resolve any of those issues although he said the parties were “on their way to the final stage of negotiations.”

The report published by Societe Generale comes in response to the latest agreement between Cheniere Energy Partners’ Sabine Pass Liquefaction unit in the US and Gas Natural Fenosa announced on Monday.

Under the LNG-sale-and purchase agreement, Gas Natural Fenosa would buy as much as 3.5 million mt/year of LNG. The deal is expected to help facilitate the construction of the first two liquefaction trains at the site, which would produce 9 million mt/year of LNG in the first phase. Construction of the two trains at Sabine Pass is estimated to begin in 2012.

(platts)

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Posted on November 23, 2011, in AMERICAS, Asia, China, LNG, Russian Federation, Sabine Pass and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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