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LNG News: U.S. Cargo Cancellations Set to Ease as Demand Rises

By Stephen Stapczynski and Anna Shiryaevskaya

(Bloomberg) Buyers of U.S. liquefied natural gas plan to cancel fewer shipments for September than the previous two months on the expectation that winter demand in Europe and Asia will lift prices.

About 20-30 cargoes scheduled for September across all U.S. export projects won’t be loaded, according to traders surveyed by Bloomberg, some of whom are buyers who scrapped their shipments. That compares with more than 50 for July and roughly 35-45 for August, they said.

The figures, which are closely tracked by the market as an early measure of U.S. supply, suggest global LNG demand is recovering after the Covid-19 pandemic slashed use by the world’s biggest consumers of the fuel. European and Asian gas prices for September and October are trading at a premium to the U.S. benchmark, which has created an arbitrage opportunity for American shipments.

Some offtakers are expected to store September loading cargoes in ships on the open sea into October or November to take advantage of a potentially lucrative pricing structure known as “contango,” when future prices trade at a premium to nearer term contracts.

Buyers requested to cancel 12-15 cargoes for September from Cheniere Energy Inc.’s U.S. projects, people with knowledge of the matter said. Cheniere’s trading arm, which is slated to take about eight cargoes for September, hasn’t decided yet whether to skip those shipments, the people said. Cheniere declined to comment on the number of cancellations.

To be sure, not all buyers have made a final decision on whether to cancel September shipments, and the total exports for the month could change depending on how many cargoes Cheniere’s marketing arm decides to ship, traders said.

At least two Cheniere customers who took delivery of August loading cargoes scrapped their scheduled supplies for September, underlining the fragility of the price recovery and how traders continue to make supply decisions on a cargo-by-cargo basis.

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