Taiwan, North Asia's third-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, halted imports of spot cargoes of the fuel in January.
Taiwan, North Asia's third-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, halted imports of spot cargoes of the fuel in January because of slowing energy demand during a recession, government and ship data showed. Taiwan, which has been buying LNG on the spot market every month since April 2007, made no purchases in January, data from the Bureau of Energy showed. It may not have bought any in February and may purchase at least two in March, according to transmissions from ships captured by AISLive on Bloomberg on March 5. In the first quarter of 2008, Taiwan had nine cargoes.
The Taiwanese economy shrank 8.36 percent in the fourth quarter as exports and business investment slumped, sending the island into its first recession since 2001. Electricity sales at Taiwan Power Co., the island's monopoly grid operator, plunged 19 percent in January from a year earlier.
Generators account for about 80 percent of Taiwanese LNG consumption. The economy may contract 2.97 percent this year, Taiwan's government said last month.
The British Sapphire, a 155,000 cubic-meter LNG tanker owned by BP Plc, left Point Fortin in Trinidad and will reach Yung An terminal on March 13, ship tracking data showed. LNG Lokoja, a 148,471 cubic-meter LNG tanker, may reach Yung An on March 17, carrying a cargo from Nigeria, according to the data.
Taiwan purchased 800,200 kiloliters, or 363,000 metric tons, of LNG in January. That's 38 percent less than a year earlier, data from the Bureau of Energy showed this week. The island paid US$118.4 million, or US$326.56 a ton, in January as a recession and a weeklong holiday cut demand from power producers.
The Lunar New Year holiday in the month of January also damped electricity consumption and reduced gas demand, said Clint Chou, a spokesman for Taiwan Power, on March 2. The festival was in January this year and February last year.
LNG is natural gas that has been chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one-six hundredth of its original volume for transportation by ship to destinations not connected by pipeline. On arrival, it's turned back into gas for distribution to power plants, factories and households.
State-owned CPC Corp. is the island's only LNG importer.