September 30, 2010, 3:21 AM EDT
By Dinakar Sethuraman
(Updates with LNG import volumes in third paragraph.)
Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) — Japan, the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, paid 31 percent more for the fuel in August compared with a year earlier as crude oil prices climbed.
Prices for delivered LNG rose to 50,233 yen ($602) a metric ton, according to data from the Ministry of Finance. That’s equivalent to about $11.43 per million British thermal units, more than twice the price of U.S. benchmark gas futures at Henry Hub, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Japan’s purchases of the cleaner-burning fuel increased 10 percent to 46.7 million tons in the first eight months from a year earlier as Asian economies rebounded from a global recession. Asia’s LNG imports may expand 8 percent this year after declining 3 percent in 2009, Facts Global Energy said in a report in July.
Japanese August imports climbed to 6.4 million tons from 5.4 million tons a year earlier, according to the data. The nation bought four spot cargoes from Egypt, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea at an average price of 54,476 yen a ton. That compares with one cargo in July at 60,547 yen a ton and one spot cargo a year earlier at 41,902 yen a ton from the BG Group Plc- marketed Equatorial Guinea LNG project.
Crude oil futures in New York rose 10 percent in the past 12 months. Oil for November delivery traded at $77.77 a barrel at 2:45 p.m. Singapore time. Natural gas futures were at $3.95 per million British thermal units in New York.
LNG is natural gas that’s been chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one-six-hundredth of its original volume at minus 161 degrees Celsius (minus 259 Fahrenheit), for transportation by ship to destinations not connected by pipeline.
–Editors: Ryan Woo.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dinakar Sethuraman in Singapore at email@example.com