LNG Shipping Rates Fall to Lowest Since 2010 in Boon for Traders

(Bloomberg) by James Paton and Chou Hui Hong – The cost to ship super-chilled natural gas has tumbled to the lowest level in more than four years and is forecast to fall further. That’s good news for buyers and sellers of the fuel. Rates to transport liquefied natural gas have declined to about $50,000 per day and will probably go lower before recovering, according to Andrew Buckland, a London-based analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. That compares with more than $140,000 a day in 2012, the energy consulting firm found in a report last month. Lower rates can benefit traders that sign short-term contracts and give LNG players flexibility in where they deliver the gas, said Hal Miller, president of consulting company Galway Group in Houston. At the same time, ship owners will be hurt by falling rates.  “I’d expect prices to stay in this ballpark for a couple of years before they start turning around” as new LNG projects begin shipments, Miller said by phone. Trafigura Beheer BV late last year expected to more than double its LNG trading for 2014, helped by lower freight rates and increased volatility. Vitol SA said in November that it remains the “main player” of the … continue reading

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