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Rethinking LNG markets – the effect of LNG supply surge in EuropePublished: 8 of March, 2016

In 2015, a number of global market developments indicated that the typical dynamics of LNG markets observed in the 2011-2014 period are about to experience profound and lasting changes. The age of high Asian prices and the nearly insatiable demand of far eastern markets is in its decline. Typically, the lion’s share of LNG cargoes were delivered to the Pacific basin, more specifically to Japan, South Korea, and in a lesser extent to China and Taiwan. Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan replaced its missing nuclear generation with fossil fuels, and paid an extremely high premium for gas obtained on the spot market. However, 2015 brought the winds of change: two units of the Sendai NPP came back online and more nuclear capacities are to follow. Besides this phenomenon, Japanese companies have contracted the future Australian natural gas production to allow favourable prices compared to their existing oil-indexed long-term contracts and spot deliveries. Slowing economic development in the East-Asian region coupled with the LNG supply surge of 2015 resulted in depressed price levels in Asia. Demand became tighter in the previously lucrative markets, and the surplus gas volumes started to trickle down to Europe.