The VLGC BW Nantes is heading to Wenzhou from Escravos in Nigeria, traders said. It is in the Indian Ocean and estimated to arrive at the Chinese east coast port by October 28, according to Platts ship-tracking tool cFlow.
Traders said China Gas, which has a terminal at Wenzhou, might have been the buyer of the cargo of mixed LPG. Some traders said either Chevron or Brazil’s Petrobras could have been the potential shipper. A source with Petrobras denied it was the charterer.
“I heard their [Escravos] cargo is mixed LPG, so not many terminals can take that,” a North Asian source said.
Another source said Chinese buyers do not have strict requirements on the quality of LPG imported, adding: “If the price is right they will buy”. Asian LPG prices retreated slightly Thursday from a 6-week high hit Wednesday as buyers continued to show appetite ahead of the cold season.
Prices of propane and butane cargoes for delivery along the major Singapore-Japan route were assessed down $7/mt at $915/mt and $945/mt, respectively.
Cargoes lifted from Nigeria are usually priced off Mont Belvieu or Northwest European LPG prices. Month Belvieu propane was assessed at $608.25/mt Wednesday, while Northwest Europe propane was assessed at $838/mt.
Chinese imports from Nigeria are fairly rare. Latest data showed that China imported no cargoes from Nigeria in August after taking 45,018 mt in July and 52,225 mt in June.
There were no other imports from the West African producer before that this year, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. Last year imports were only seen in May at above 23,000 mt, July at more than 43,000 mt and August at almost 5,000 mt.
China imported the majority of its LPG from the Middle East in August with around nine cargoes coming from the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It is set to raise the amount of LPG it imports over the next few years amid a boom in propane dehydrogenation (PDH) capacity.
China’s August LPG imports (mt): Aug 2013 Aug 2012 % change July 2013 % change UAE 208,359 106,098 96.3 131,625 58.3 Qatar 130,497 161,177 -19.03 122,884 6.2 Saudi Arabia 73,864 114,010 -35.21 69,006 7.04 South Korea 79,623 52,802 50.8 64,990 22.52 Kuwait 56,144 78,306 -28.3 47,914 17.18 Algeria 31,115 0 NA 0 NA US 19,861 0 NA 0 NA Australia 3,840 13,153 -70.8 64,387 -94% Nigeria 0 4,776 NA 45,018 NA
Information from Platts was used in this report.