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Qatar LNG Spot Sales to Fall 40% by 2014

Source: Bloomberg 12/8/2012, Location: Middle East

Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, will reduce spot-market sales of the fuel by at least 40 percent by 2014, curbing supplies available for Europe, state-controlled Qatar National Bank (QNBK) said.

Spot volumes available for sale will drop to about 27 percent of total output this year from 28 percent, and to 16 percent by 2014 as long-term supply agreements go into effect and new ones are signed, the bank’s QNB Group said in a report.

“These new contracts are mainly to Asia Pacific and South America, meaning that Europe’s share of Qatar LNG exports is likely to fall,” according to today’s report.

A drop in Qatari LNG sales to Europe may boost dependence on Russian pipeline gas and push up prices on the continent nearer to Asian fees. Japanese LNG prices averaged $17 per million British thermal units this year, 16 percent higher than last year, the bank said. European prices rose 8 percent to $11.

“This provides a price incentive for spot-market deliveries to be exported to the Asia Pacific, in addition to the rising number of long-term” agreements, the bank said.

Asian demand for LNG, which is gas cooled to a liquid for transport by tanker, has grown as nations seek more fuel for power generation. Japan has increased purchases since shutting almost all its nuclear capacity following the Fukushima reactor disaster in 2011, while U.S. imports have dropped amid a boom in domestic shale-gas output.

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