*Qatar, which continues to edge out Australia as the world’s top LNG exporter, has a sales portfolio heavily weighted to long term contracts with oil-linked pricing. This linkage mechanism typically comes with a 3-5 month delay, and so even after crude prices collapsed in March, Qatar continued to pocket relatively buoyant prices for its LNG: of its key customers, China and Japan continued to pay an average of over $10/mn BTU in April and Korea did so until July. This helped Qatar to record relatively robust (by regional standards) trade figures for the first half of 2020: Qatar’s 1H 2020 export revenue was down 17% year-on-year (MEES, 11 September), but Saudi export earnings saw a whopping 38% fall over the same period (MEES, 25 September).
*Now the inevitable has happened, and term LNG prices have shifted lower. Much lower. Four of Qatar’s five key Asian customers have now seen their monthly average price for Qatar cargoes fall below $5/mn BTU. For the one exception, Korea, Qatar has only managed to defend prices at the expense of a swingeing fall in volumes. (CONTINUED - 772 WORDS)