Taiwan's 2009 Spot LNG Imports Drop 39% Because of Weak Demand.
Taiwan, Asia"s third-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, reduced purchases of the fuel on spot terms last year as demand dropped because of the global recession, official data showed. Supplies of cargoes on immediate basis from the Atlantic Ocean area including Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Russia fell to at least 25 cargoes last year from 41 cargoes in 2008, according to e-mailed data from Taiwan"s Bureau of Energy.
Electricity sales at Taiwan Power Co. declined 4.1 percent in 2009 as the recession slowed factory output, according to a newsletter from the island"s monopoly grid operator.
?Gas demand in Asia is weaker than expected and new capacity is being added,? Pawel Olejarnik, an analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency, said last month.
Spot purchases from producers fell to 1.49 million metric tons, or 17 percent of total purchases, last year from 2.44 million tons, or 27 percent of imports in 2008, according to official data.
Atlantic Ocean purchases dropped as Qatar boosted exports of LNG to Taiwan by about 61 percent last year under a term contract to a new import terminal in western Taiwan, according to the data.
Taiwan paid an average of $531.5 a ton on landed basis, or about $10 per million British thermal units, for the spot purchases last year, the data showed. That was 35 percent lower than in 2008. For instance Nigeria, Taiwan"s biggest spot supplier, charged on an average 27 percent lower last year.
Spot cargoes to Asia are typically priced off Henry Hub in the U.S. or the National Balancing Point in the U.K. The U.S. gas price benchmark at Henry Hub on the New York Mercantile Exchange averaged $4.12 per million Btu last year, while U.K. gas at the National Balancing Point averaged about $4.92 per million Btu, according to Bloomberg data.
Total imports of LNG in 2009, used as a fuel in power stations, fell for the first time, declining 2.5 percent to 19.4 million kiloliters, or 8.78 million metric tons, from 19.9 million kiloliters in 2008, official data showed.
The island imports LNG under multiyear contracts from Indonesia, Malaysia and Qatar.