PERTH, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Asian spot LNG prices continued to climb toward $19 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), supported by strong winter demand from China, Japan and South Korea.
China is facing a gas shortage which has sent it trawling for LNG cargoes just as top importers Japan and South Korea are stockpiling supplies for winter.
Asian LNG prices were at around $18.60 per mmBtu, up from $18.30 last week.
China's LNG imports have already jumped 20 percent in the year to October and will likely continue to rise as the country commissions a series of new LNG receiving terminals in the coming months.
With extra Chinese demand and new LNG import capacity, prices of the super-cooled fuel may reach $20 per mmBtu before the end of the year, trade sources said.
Last week Qatargas delivered the commissioning cargo of LNG to China's new Tangshan LNG terminal, while the country's first floating LNG terminal is expected to start operation next month.
Several other terminals are expected to come online next year. For a related factbox, see.
In Latin America, demand has weakened from levels seen earlier this year with the arrival of the southern hemisphere summer.
"Spot demand out of Argentina and Chile seems to have pulled back a bit as they enter into their summer season. We could see some additional spot demand out of Brazil if hydro levels are not replenished," Waterborne LNG analysts said in a note.
On the supply side, Indonesia's Donggi-Senoro LNG has pushed back first production to March 2015 from an earlier target of 2014.
The delay in the Donggi-Senoro LNG project means only two new projects -- Exxon Mobil's PNG LNG and BG Group's Queensland Curtis Island LNG -- are scheduled to come online in the Asia Pacific region in 2014, resulting in a further tightening of expected global LNG supplies.