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China’s Sinopec floods LNG spot market with cargoes for 2022

© Photographer: VCG/Getty Images AAn LNG import terminal at Tianjin in China
An LNG import terminal at Tianjin in China

A top Chinese liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer is offering to sell dozens of spot cargoes this year, indicating the world’s biggest buyer is well-stocked.

The trading arm of Sinopec issued a sales tender offering up to 45 cargoes for delivery between February and October to ports in North Asia, according to traders with knowledge of the matter. This is the first time the oil major — traditionally a buyer — has issued such a large sales tender, the traders added.

The surprise move will likely spur bearish sentiment in the LNG spot market, which has slumped over the last few weeks as Asian importers curbed purchases on the back of high inventories. With the end of the peak winter demand season within sight, traders are betting that the region will avoid a crippling supply crunch.

To be sure, it isn’t clear how many cargoes China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., as Sinopec is formally known, actually plans to sell via its tender, and the firm may decide not to award any shipments at all.

Sinopec has a long-term purchase agreement for 2 million tons of LNG a year from Qatar that starts this year, which may be why it has excess supply to offer.

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