South Korean Coal Plant Closures May Lift LNG Demand


LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - Asian spot LNG prices held steady this week with little fresh activity, but fresh demand is expected after South Korea outlined plans to close ten old coal-fired power plants next month.

Spot prices for July delivery were assessed at around $5.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), broadly in line with last week's levels, according to trade sources.

A month-long shutdown at Train 1 of Chevron's giant Gorgon export plant in Australia, announced on Monday, had little impact amid weak shoulder-month demand in Asia.

News of South Korean coal plant closures, however, could help support prices if Korea Gas Corp launched another tender for summer supplies, trading sources said.

The company - via its last tender in April - purchased around 10 cargoes for June and July delivery, temporarily helping to shore up a weak market.

"The Koreans seem more active with coal power plants shutting down," a Singapore-based trader said.

Angola launched a tender to sell a cargo loading on May 21-23, while South Korea's POSCO seeks a cargo for delivery in late June.

Italy's OLT import terminal will receive three June cargoes from Swiss-based DufEnergy Trading, as well as a cargo each from MET International and Eni ENI.MI in July, trade sources said.

Deliveries to OLT, moored off the Tuscan coast, were purchased via an auction in which nine companies participated to secure the five import slots on offer across June and July. (Editing by Greg Mahlich)


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