Tension for long-term gas supply arbitrations in Asia growing

Against a backdrop of European sanctions, new US and Australian gas field developments, and a breakthrough deal between Russia and China, the global gas landscape is shifting rapidly. At C5’s 4th Long Term Gas Supply Contracts Congress in Berlin, market leading gas companies convened at the annual industry gathering to analyse the future of long-term contracts in a year that has seen a number of landmark agreements signed, such as the supply agreement linked to spot gas prices signed between Eni and Gazprom. Long-term gas supplyA key point to emerge from the Congress was the considerable tension currently felt by Asian energy purchasers under their existing long-term LNG supply contracts; purchasers are paying prices that are simply too high relative to global trends. With waves of new supply from the US, Australia, Africa and British Columbia due to arrive in the coming years, gas purchasers in the region are spending considerable time looking at their contracts with a view to securing more favourable pricing terms via commercial renegotiations or price review clauses. Speaking off-the-record with numerous delegates in Berlin, the first gas price arbitrations are believed to be only a matter of time in Asia; it is palpable how much closer purchasers are to taking action than they were 12 months ago. In a highly anticipated session examining the Asian market, representatives from KoGas, Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas considered the future of long-term contracts in the region, and the role they will play in the global gas market moving forward. On the evidence, it is clear that the Asian markets are increasingly saying “why should we?” to high prices. Brian Oh, General Counsel for KoGas noted that they are working to move away from traditional long-term gas supply agreements, and have “expanded the sources of LNG supplies… to take advantage of cheap gas in North America”. With the formation of the Korean LNG Purchaser Group serving as a step towards to securing stable and inexpensive gas, KoGas has also been “partially successful in securing diversion clauses” alongside “SPAs indexed to Henry Hub Price”. Likewise, Takao Kasumi from Tokyo Gas stated that they are challenging to “diversify their sources as well as the terms & conditions” of long-term contracts they enter. With a significant number of long-term contracts in the region soon to expire, buyer’s groups forming, and Asian purchasers feeling emboldened to seek more favourable terms, the storm clouds are gathering. Based on the comments of the panel, it appears likely that gas suppliers will have to make significant and meaningful concessions to maintain and renew their long-term gas supply contracts. With the regional market soon to see turbulence, the time is ripe for a new and potentially disruptive breed of contracts to emerge.

Written by Ben Sharples – b.sharples@c5-online.com

 

Take a look at the website for the Long Term Gas Congress 2015:

www.c5-online.com/gascontracts