June 2, 2011 / 8:42 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-US April LNG imports fall 20 pct -DOE

* Imports fall to 33.1 bcf from 41.6 in April 2010

* Jan to April imports down 28 year on year

* Low US gas prices keep spot shipments away (Recasts, adds details from report, background on gas market)

NEW YORK, June 2 (Reuters) - U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas in April plummeted 20 percent from the same month a year ago as ample domestic supply and slumping prices deterred spot shipments, the Department of Energy said on Thursday.

LNG imports fell to 33.1 billion cubic feet from 41.6 billion cubic feet in April 2010, the data showed. The drop echoes similar declines in January, February and March.

From January to April, imports fell 28 percent versus the same period in 2010.

Of the 11 cargoes delivered over the month, four arrived at the Everett terminal in Boston, two went to Elba Island in Georgia and rest were delivered to terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Low U.S. gas prices have kept imports slow this year as shippers look to offload cargoes in higher-paying Asian and European markets.

During April, U.S. gas prices around $4 per million British thermal units were between $5 and $6 lower than British gas prices, Reuters data showed <0#NG-NGLNM=R>. The spread was easily wide enough for shippers even in Trinidad to make better returns from sending cargoes to Europe or Asia.

One cargo was re-exported from the U.S. in April, from Sempra Energy’s (SRE.N) Cameron terminal in Louisiana. The cargo was sold by Sempra to Golar Commodities for delivery to Spain in the Seri Balquis tanker, the DOE said. The cargo was sold free on board for $6.95 per mmBtu.

Reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by David Gregorio

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