Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNGLF) (LNG) extended their fall this week on slack demand, although production issues in Australia helped stem losses.
LNG for May delivery in Asia traded at around $4.20 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), compared with $4.30 per mmBtu last week.
LNG for June delivery was lower at around $4.00 per mmBtu.
Mechanical problems at Australia's Gorgon LNG export terminal are expected to halt production for 30 to 60 days, a development which traders said had helped stop prices sliding further this week.
"The impact is that the market hasn't come down quicker," a trader said.
On the shipping side, however, it had contributed to a glut in tankers.
"It's a huge disappointment because quite a few ships were lined up to trade and now they're potentially back in the market as it's a bit uncertain when it (the plant) will be back up," a shipping broker said.
Traders said there was buying interest in India but elsewhere in Asia it was quiet.
U.S. exporter Cheniere Energy (LNG)
is likely to tender to sell some of its commissioning cargoes, adding further pressure to the market.
"They've knocked out cargoes at a relatively high frequency so we guess the production is going well," the shipping broker.
Angola LNG vessels Malanje and Sonagol Sambizanga are heading towards Angola as the plant prepares to resume exports after a rupture on the flare line forced a shutdown in April 2014.
Traders said Egypt exported a single cargo via Shell from its Idku plant, necessary to keep the plant running, while the country remains a net importer of LNG.
Papua New Guinea's export plant has tendered to sell five LNG cargoes, two traders said.
A deal by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) with Qatargas to supply 0.5 million tonnes of LNG to Kuwait over four years, starting from March 2016, is expected to curb the country's spot demand.
Kuwait now sources a total of around 2.5 million tonnes of LNG per year via contracts for supply until 2019 with BP, Shell and Qatargas.
Other bearish news included Japan's Osaka Gas Co's plans to expand its trading activity to sell LNG it does not need both via short-term opportunities and long-term sales agreements.
On the demand side Argentina's YPF bought a total of 17 LNG cargoes for May to August delivery, including three cargoes each from Gazprom, Trafigura, Petrobras and Gas Natural (EGAS)
, two cargoes each from BP and Vitol and a single cargo from Koch Supply & Trading, traders said.
Mexico's state-run power company CFE has purchased three cargoes from BP, two from Citi and one from Vitol, falling one cargo short of the initial seven-cargo tender, traders said.
The Dubai Supply Authority awarded a tender to buy three cargoes for delivery from May through July on Friday but traders said it was unclear who the suppliers were.
Prices were thought to be below $4 for the June and July shipments, three traders said.
(By Sarah McFarlane and Oleg Vukmanovic; Editing by Susan Thomas)