LNG Carrier to Deliver Gas to US with European Stockpiles Near Full

A ship carrying liquefied natural gas from Nigeria is expected to drop its cargo in Georgia as energy firms look for a place to store the super-cooled fuel with prices higher in the United States and stockpiles nearing full capacity in Europe.

The ship, Madrid Spirit, does not have a destination listed, according to data from Refinitiv, but is located a day or two away from Kinder Morgan Inc’s Elba Island LNG plant.

A unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc chartered the ship, people familiar with the matter said.

Shell, which has a long-term contract to use Elba, declined to comment.

The United States, which is the world’s third biggest LNG exporter behind Australia and Qatar, does not receive a lot of LNG imports, but they do occur.

There were 21 LNG deliveries to the United States last year, mostly from Trinidad, while the U.S. exported more than 500 cargoes.

Analysts said it makes sense for some energy firms to store LNG in the United States because U.S. gas prices have traded mostly higher than in Europe since late April.

The combination of higher U.S. prices, coronavirus demand destruction and record stockpiles in Europe has already prompted buyers to cancel dozens of U.S. LNG export cargoes for delivery this summer.

So far in 2020, the United States received at least 10 LNG deliveries with seven going to Exelon Corp’s Everett terminal in Massachusetts and three, including one this week, to Dominion Energy Inc’s Cove Point in Maryland, according to federal and Refinitiv data.

Exelon said it does not import or store LNG at Everett for others since it mostly uses the terminal to fuel its Mystic gas-fired power plant.

At Cove Point, however, BP Plc, Equinor ASA and Shell have storage rights for a 120-day period, according to Energy Aspects.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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