(Bloomberg) -- Asia’s liquefied natural gas spot price rallied to the highest level since early October on concern disruptions to production and the arrival of colder weather in key markets will further tighten supply.

The Japan-Korea Marker, North Asia’s LNG benchmark, jumped 20% in the week to Wednesday to $34.24 per million British thermal units, according to traders citing an assessment from S&P Global. An ongoing outage at a key US export plant and forecasts for frigid weather in Europe are seen boosting global competition for the fuel this winter and potentially curbing shipments to Asia, the traders said.

While North Asia LNG importers, like Japan and China, are optimistic that they’ve secured enough fuel for winter, supplies remain tight and a sudden cold snap in those nations could quickly deplete inventories. Meanwhile, Asia is in direct competition with energy-starved Europe for a dwindling amount of available LNG.

Prices are also being pushed higher by Shell Plc, the world’s biggest LNG trader, which has been bidding to secure spot shipments for delivery to China in January.  

  • Tender News:
    • Oman offers two LNG cargoes on a DES basis for 2H Dec. delivery to Asia
    • Gail issued a swap tender seeking to buy 12 cargoes on a DES basis to India for Jan.-Dec. 2023 delivery in exchange for selling shipments from the US
  • Weather:
    • Eastern and Western Japan have a 40% chance of seeing warmer-than-normal temperatures over the next month, according to Japan Meteorological Agency’s forecast from Nov. 24
    • European natural gas prices fluctuated as lower temperatures bring the prospects of a tighter market
  • Stockpiles:
    • LNG stockpiles held by Japanese utilities rose to 2.61m tons on Nov. 20, and are above the five-year average for the end of Sept.
    • Europe’s gas storage was at about 95% of capacity on Tuesday compared with the five-year average for this time of year of 85%

--With assistance from Ann Koh.

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