In 2021, the volume of long-term LNG contracts signed to end-user markets returned to its highest level in the last 5 years.
This momentum continues into 2022.
WoodMac principal analyst Daniel Toleman said:
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a dramatic impact on long-term LNG contracts
- Many traditional LNG buyers will neither procure spot gas or LNG nor renew or sign additional LNG contracts with Russian sellers
- Spot prices have also been high and volatile, pushing many buyers towards long-term contracts
- Additionally, some buyers are returning to long-term contracting on behalf of governments to protect national energy security
Between 2020 and early 2021, long-term oil-linked contract prices fell into the 10% range, levels not seen in the last 10 years.
This was driven by Qatar opting for a market share strategy, other sellers having long uncontracted positions and Japanese legacy buyers being out of the market for long-term volumes.
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine has pushed prices higher, Middle East sellers are now asking for deals above 12%
- These deals have limited flexibility, seasonality and are fixed to a market so the slope of a normal’ contract is higher, between 12.5% and 14.0%
- We believe that sellers can get 16% slopes for 2- or 3- year deals with volumes ending before the end of 2024
- The range is slightly lower at 14-15% for 4- or 5-year deals with volumes that end in 2026
- That said, prices vary greatly based on the terms, tenure and start date of new deals
- The market remains bifurcated with contracts starting before or after 2026, attracting premiums or discounts to this range, respectively
Most new contracts are from US supply as operators move projects forward.
All these contracts are linked to North American prices.
Chinese buyers have also continued their strategy of procuring low-priced LNG.
In 2020 and early 2021, they targeted oil-linked Qatar volumes.
Since mid 2021, Chinese buyers have targeted Henry Hub deals with liquefaction tariffs below $2 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu).
The only non-Chinese deal with an end-user was an important one.
It was the 1st Europe LNG deal since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Engie signed up to 1.75 mmtpa for 15 years from NextDecade’s Rio Grande project, a development that will use carbon capture and storage to reduce its emission intensity.