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US LNG imports remained at historical lows in May

9 Jul 2013, 9.45 pm GMT

Houston, 9 July (Argus) — US LNG imports in May continued to be at among the lowest levels seen in about 15 years, as the country's LNG demand has declined dramatically with booming domestic shale gas production.

The US imported two cargoes in May with a combined volume equivalent to 5.6 Bcf (159mn m³) of gas, according to data released today by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Both cargoes arrived at the Everett terminal outside Boston, Massachusetts. The terminal is typically the busiest in the nation, because it provides baseload gas supply to the nearby Mystic river power plant. New England's access to domestic pipeline gas is limited by pipeline constraints.

Both cargoes were imported by France's GDF Suez, which owns the Everett terminal, and came from Trinidad and Tobago's Atlantic LNG plant, where GDF Suez has offtake rights.

The volume-weighted average landed price of the two May cargoes was $4.29/mmBtu, up from May 2012's price of $4.12/mmBtu, but down from April's price of $4.67/mmBtu.

Spot gas prices at Algonquin citygates in New England averaged $4.20/mmBtu in May, according to Argus data, a 9¢/mmBtu discount to the LNG import price at Everett that month.

Algonquin citygates prices averaged $4.43 in April, a 24¢/mmBtu discount to the volume-weighted landed LNG price at Everett that month.

Everett also imported the US' sole two cargoes in April, with a combined volume of 5.2 Bcf. That was the lowest monthly total in the US since 5 Bcf was seen in October 1998. May's figure was only the second time since October 1998 that the monthly import total was less than 7.5 Bcf.

The US imported five cargoes in May 2012 with a combined volume of 16.2 Bcf.

In the first five months of this year, the US imported LNG equivalent to 44 Bcf of gas, compared with 79 Bcf during the same time last year.

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