Qatar in talks to up LNG sales to South Korea

Qatar is in talks to increase liquefied natural gas supplies to South Korea, Asia?s second-largest LNG market, by 28% as rising demand heightens competition for the fuel. Qatar, the biggest producer of LNG in the Middle East, may sell 2 million metric tons of LNG a year to Korea Gas Corp., in addition to the extra 2.1 million tons it agreed to ship starting in January, Qatari oil minister Abdullah bin Hamad al- Attiyah told reporters today in Seoul. South Korea now imports 4.92 million tons a year on contract from Qatar.

??We will give Korea priority,?? al-Attiyah said. Qatar has redirected to South Korea supplies promised to other nations to other nations and may do so again, because it is ??committed to Korea.?? South Korea is competing with China and Japan for LNG, a cleaner alternative to coal and crude oil, as energy prices climb. The price of Qatari LNG to Japan rose 33% to $8.36 per million British thermal units in September from a year earlier, according to data from LNG Japan Corp.

Shares of Korea Gas rose 900 won, or 2.2%, to a record 41,800 won. They have gained 26% this year, more than the 2.9% increase in the benchmark Kospi index. Qatar plans to quadruple LNG output to 77 million tons a year by 2010, to make te nation the world?s biggest producer, and all the fuel is taken up, al-Attiyah said. Jang Gi Hoon, general manager of the LNG purchase division of Korea Gas, didn?t answer calls to his office. Korea Gas, the world?s biggest single buyer of liquefied natural gas, and Qatar?s Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. signed an initial agreement for the 2.1 million tons on November 13, South Korea?s energy ministry said on November 16.

Source: The Financial Express, New Delhi
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