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US LNG headed for weaker month-on-month performance in August

Final August figures likely to improve but outlook suggests fewer exports in August, with the majority of shipped LNG still at sea and headed for the Pacific

As of 28 August, US LNG is likely going to see a significant drop of 0.99mmt in month-on-month this month, with Sabine Pass LNG accounting for c. 79% of that retreat. Accordingly, capacity utilisation is also set to drop, from 97% to 71%, on average. 

Whilst we expect those performance figures to have improved by 31 August, we do not currently see US LNG export continuity from July levels. Although, for example, July’s mid-month slump was quickly overcome by a spurt of exports towards the end of the month, current market visibility suggests only around 5 additional LNG cargoes will leave the United States before 1 September out of the 12 currently scheduled over the next 10 days (not including those earmarked for Freeport LNG, where a start-up date remains open). 

Cargo lifting outlook suggests volumes insufficient to close gap between August and July

Even when assuming two cargoes we see taking place on 1 September manage to leave port on 31 August, US LNG would still close the month down approximately 0.40mmt compared to July.  It is yet unclear what the underlying reasons for that drop are, though we suggest it is mainly down to capacity leaseholders’ vessel scheduling. Whilst we did report on ongoing maintenance issues at two of Sabine’s LNG storage tanks, implicating 40% of storage capacity, these issues did not hamper the terminal’s performance in July.

Most of August’s US LNG still in transit

The vast majority of US LNG cargoes are still at sea. Notably, 29 of the 34 cargoes shipped so far in August are still in transit, with the majority still lacking confirmed destinations. Meanwhile, 1.44mmt of 2.49mmt shipped by US LNG terminals in August so far are headed for or have already arrived in the Pacific. 

Two Cameron shipments headed for Sines in Portugal and Naoetsu in Japan

As such, all of Cameron LNG’s August cargoes are still at sea en route to the Pacific region, with current visibility suggesting 0.08mmt aboard the SK Resolute will arrive at Naoetsu in Japan in mid-September. Meanwhile, the Flex Ranger is currently en route to the Sines terminal in Portugal, due to arrive by Friday morning. The cargo is likely traded by Naturgy (formerly Gas Natural Fenosa) as part of its T2 contingent of 1.5mtpa from Corpus Christi.

Considering Corpus Christi, apart from a BP cargo delivered aboard the Kinisis to Mexico’s Manzanillo terminal on Monday, all remaining 6 cargoes shipped in August are still at sea.

Two Cove Point cargoes sold to Chile

The only Cove Point cargo reaching its destination so far has been aboard the BW-operated Pan Asia, which delivered 0.08mmt to Chile’s Endesa via the Quintero terminal on 27 August. Sovcomflot’s SCF Mitre is also headed for Chile, with an expected arrival in the first week of September. 

Dahej potentially single largest recipient of Sabine Pass August cargoes

For Sabine Pass, meanwhile, our LNGUnlimited market tracker indicates that three cargoes amounting to 0.23mmt are headed for India, two of which – the Maran Gas Hydra and the Maran Gas Agamemnon – are scheduled to arrive at Dahej a week apart around mid-September. Provided neither are diverted, Dahej (operated by Petronet) would then constitute the single largest recipient for Sabine’s August production.