Lower planned maintenance activity at Qatargas 4, compared to a year earlier, boosted LNG exports from the country, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) said in its monthly report for April.

Qatar was the top global LNG exporter in March, GECF said.

In March this year, LNG exports from GECF member countries and observers rose by 1.8% (0.3mn tonnes year-on-year) to 17.21mn tonnes, which is the highest historic rate of exports for the month.

Besides Qatar, Angola, Malaysia, Russia and the UAE drove the increase in GECF’s LNG exports, offsetting lower LNG exports from Egypt and Nigeria.

For the period January-March 2024, GECF’s LNG exports grew by 3.3% (1.62mn tonnes) y-o-y to reach 51.27mn tonnes.

In March, the Mena region’s LNG imports rose sharply by 53% (0.15mn tonnes) y-o-y to 0.44mn tonnes.

Kuwait continues to be the sole LNG importer in the region, with stronger LNG imports from Qatar and the US driving the increase in its LNG imports.

Between January and March this year, LNG imports in the Mena region rose by 78% (0.51mn tonnes) to 1.17mn tonnes.

In March, pipeline gas imports to the EU surged by 12% m-o-m to reach 14bcm. In the meantime, global LNG imports increased by 2.6% y-o-y, reaching 35.3mn tonnes, primarily driven by the Asia- Pacific region, with minor upticks from the LAC and Mena regions, collectively compensating for a notable drop in European LNG imports.

The stronger LNG imports in Asia Pacific were propelled by higher gas consumption alongside competitive spot LNG prices, which stimulated spot LNG in price sensitive markets.

On the supply side, global LNG exports grew by 2.3% y-o-y to 36.3mn tonnes.

The club of LNG exporters continues to expand with the Republic of the Congo exporting its first LNG cargo in March.

According to GECF, gas and LNG spot prices in Europe and Asia experienced an uptick, following a three-month period of decline. The average Title Transfer Facility (TTF) spot price stood at $8.5/mmBtu, reflecting an increase of 5% m-o-m.

In addition, the average Northeast Asia (NEA) spot LNG price experienced a 2% m-o-m increase, reaching $9/million British thermal units (mmBtu).

In the meantime, in the US, Henry Hub prices continued to decline, reaching a multi-year daily low of $1.25/mmBtu during the month. “Looking ahead, it is anticipated that increased demand from price-sensitive countries in South and Southeast Asia will support prices in the forthcoming months,” GECF said.
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