South Korea LNG Imports Climb 19 Percent on Higher Power Demand

South Korea, the world’s second-largest buyer of liquefied natural gas, boosted imports of the fuel by 19 percent in October amid increased demand for power generation.

Shipments climbed to 3.19 million metric tons from 2.68 million a year earlier, according to data on the Korea Customs Service’s website today. Imports advanced 29 percent from September.

Domestic sales by state-run Korea Gas Corp. (036460), the company that buys the most LNG globally, were up 18 percent in October from a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing on Nov. 12. Demand from electricity producers rose by 39 percent, while local city-gas providers used 1.8 percent less of the fuel.

South Korea imports most of its LNG under long-term contracts with suppliers including Qatar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Oman. It was the largest buyer after Japan in 2012 with purchases of 36.77 million metric tons, according to the industry-funded International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers in Paris.

South Korea paid $2.39 billion for LNG in October, compared with $1.81 billion in the same month last year, the data show. The average price rose to $749.97 per ton, from $675.62. That’s equivalent to $14.42 per million British thermal units, compared with $12.99 the year before, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the customs data.

The most expensive supply was from Oman, at an average $16.95 per million Btu for 307,450 tons. Russia delivered three cargoes at $4.37 per million Btu, the lowest paid in October.

Spot Cargoes

Asian buyers typically import more spot LNG in October and November to replenish inventories before heating and power demand peaks during winter in the northern hemisphere.

South Korea purchased six spot shipments in October, according to the data. Peru, South America’s sole producer of the fuel, supplied 72,237 tons while Nigeria, Africa’s largest natural gas exporter, sent 304,604 tons. A standard LNG tanker can carry about 60,000 tons.

Two of the Nigerian cargoes were delivered by the Seri Angkasa and LNG Ogun on Oct. 4 and Oct. 15, respectively, ship transmissions captured by IHS Fairplay on Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chou Hui Hong in Singapore at chong43@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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