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Winter demand raises Asian spot prices to 8-month high

SINGAPORE/LONDON, (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose to an eight-month high this week as demand for cargoes emerged ahead of winter.

Spot prices for December delivery to Northeast Asia <LNG-AS> are estimated to be about $6.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up 35 cents from last week, said several sources who are market participants.

Prices for November delivery are estimated to be about $5.90 per mmBtu, up 10 cents from the previous week, they added.

Commodities trader Vitol bought a cargo for delivery over Dec. 13 to 17 from Gunvor during the S&P Global Platts pricing process on Thursday, at $7.10 per mmBtu, according to data from Platts.

Brunei LNG likely sold an early December loading cargo to Shell at $6.50 to $6.70 per mmBtu, industry sources said, although this could not immediately be confirmed.

Maintenance in Australia and an issue at a U.S. LNG plant at a time when South Korean buyers are looking for spot cargoes ahead of winter helped boost prices, trade sources said. High freight rates are also supporting cargo prices, they added.

Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) is seeking LNG cargoes for December and January delivery after making a purchase for delivery in November, trade sources said. China's Guangdong LNG is also importing cargoes for winter, a second source said.

On the supply side, train 1 at the Chevron Corp-operated Gorgon LNG export plant is undergoing maintenance, a company spokesman said earlier this week.

The work is expected to last until Nov. 29, which is expected to curb exports from Australia.

In the United States, exports from the Corpus Christi export terminal in Texas may have reduced due to an unidentified issue, but they are expected to resume soon, industry sources said.

"Feedgas has increased and flaring is indicating that it should be online soon," one of the sources said.

Still, supply is adequate and is likely to cap gains in prices, traders added.

Several LNG tankers laden with LNG are currently floating globally, with traders anticipating winter demand to pick up.

Nigeria LNG has offered a cargo for early November loading in a tender that is expected to be awarded on Friday, while Russia's Novatek likely sold four Yamal cargoes for delivery over December to March on a delivered ex-ship basis, an industry source said. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan and Ekaterina Kravtsova; editing by Richard Pullin)


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