Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices extended losses for a third week, as weak demand gave little support, with more supply beginning to flow from the United States and Australia.
LNG prices for April delivery in Asia eased to $4.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down 30 cents from the previous week.
Gail India's purchase tender for three cargoes spread across March and April closed with the April cargo fetching a price in the mid-$4 per mmBtu range, traders said.
Four cargoes offered by Indonesia
's Bontang liquefaction plant will go to trading house Vitol, two international oil companies and possibly a Japanese player pending government approvals, several industry sources said.
Argentina's state-run LNG buyer YPF is expected to tender for supply in coming weeks.
In the world's biggest LNG consumer Japan, which is struggling with weak demand, utility Kansai Electric Power Company picked up a spot cargo this week as did another Japanese importer, sources said.
Traders said Russia's Sakhalin project was on track to resume exporting regular volumes in March.
At the same time, a landmark first cargo was exported from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass facility on the U.S. Gulf Coast to Brazil this week, with eight to 10 more cargoes expected in the next two months.
The timing could not be worse for the first production of natural gas from
Australia's $54 billion Gorgon project - the world's most expensive, as prices languish at multi-year lows and demand fades.
Scheduled maintenance work is being conducted at one of Nigeria LNG's six production trains and will last until the first week of April.
A spokesman for the project said the maintenance would not result in production challenges, and prices were not impacted by the news.
There were limited trading opportunities in the Atlantic Basin, particularly for reloads, as prices were converging with the Asian market, a trader said.
Month-ahead gas prices at Britain's trading hub were at $4.13/mmBtu, narrowing the spread with Asia markets.
(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic and Sarah McFarlane; Editing by David Evans)