January 16, 2017 / 7:12 AM / 3 years ago

Platts launches Middle East LNG price marker as region's demand grows

SINGAPORE, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Commodity pricing agency S&P Global Platts will begin assessing prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivered to the Middle East and Pakistan, reflecting growing imports into a region better known as an exporter, the company said on Monday.

Demand for LNG in Dubai, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan has grown close to tenfold since 2010 to 20.8 million tonnes per annum in 2016, with Egypt taking about one-third of those imports, according to Platts, a unit of S&P Global Inc.

“The Platts Middle East Marker (MEM) price assessment is designed to reflect the growing importance of the Middle East as an LNG import destination rather than just an exporter of cargoes,” Platts’ Global Director of LNG Shelley Kerr said.

Egypt and Pakistan have recently launched or awarded huge tenders for short-term and medium-term supplies, looking to take advantage of a gas glut stoked by new output from Australia and the United States.

“Our analysis indicates a greater tendency for new entrants in the region to use short-term purchasing strategies, which is creating additional liquidity,” Kerr said.

Egypt bought 60 cargoes of the supercooled fuel for 2017 through a tender last November and is expected to need a further 40 cargoes this year.

Pakistan tendered to buy 240 shipments of LNG last November, under five-year and 15-year deals that are yet to be awarded.

The Egyptian port of Ain Sukhna will be used as the main point for the Platts price marker. Deliveries into other ports will be assessed by applying a freight cost factor, Platts said.

The MEM price assessments will also be based on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis to ports in the Middle East that are able to receive shipments with a minimum cargo size of 135,000 cubic meters, the company said.

The price assessment will be published at 16:30 London time daily. Platts has published the Japan-Korea Marker (JKM) assessment for LNG delivered into Asia since 2009.

Platts competes with Thomson Reuters in providing information to energy markets. (Reporting by Mark Tay; Editing by Tom Hogue and Sonali Paul)

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