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Mitsui LNG Ship Alters Route, Heads for Asia on Gap in Prices

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- A liquefied natural gas tanker owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. that typically shuttles between Qatar and Europe is sailing for the first time in at least a year to Asia, where the cargo costs almost twice as much.

The Al Aamriya left Ras Laffan on Jan. 19, according to AISLive Ltd. ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. It is currently in the Bay of Bengal and signaling for South Korea. The carrier brought seven Qatari cargoes to the U.K. and Belgium in the past year, data show.

One million British thermal units of Qatari LNG costs $17.12 in South Korea, compared with $8.87 in the U.K., according to January data from New York-based shipbroker Poten & Partners. Accounting for costs to transport the fuel and convert it back into gas, the return from shipping Qatari LNG to South Korea is 140 percent higher, the figures show.

Akika Hamakawa, a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K., declined to comment. The company owns the largest global shipping fleet. Qatar is the world’s biggest exporter of LNG, which is natural gas that has been chilled to a liquid state for transportation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isaac Arnsdorf in London at iarnsdorf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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