Tehran, Sept 13, IRNA – Iranˈs LPG exports to Asia rebounded to nearly 300,000 mt for September loading after sliding to 152,000 mt in August, with most cargoes bound for China and one set for India, shipping sources said recently.
For August loading, three 44,000-mt shipments were China-bound and one 20,000-mt parcel was set for India, sources said.
Iran resumed LPG shipments in May 2013 after an eight-month hiatus because worries over an EU ban on shipping insurance. But volumes waned for cargoes loaded in June to 199,000 mt before recovering to 242,000 mt in July.
The July-loading shipments included destinations such as South Korea and Southeast Asia, but dominated by China.
The August and September volumes take total exports from Iran to Asia since January to almost 2.1 million mt, figures obtained from shipping sources showed.
Of these, around 1.7m mt were being shipped to China, while the rest headed to India, South Korea and Southeast Asia, shipping sources added.
Among the ships loading in August and September is the 29,171-dwt Gas Magic, owned by Turkish company Galata Denizcilik, which has not previously been seen moving Iranian cargoes to Asia.
In August, the vessel loaded a 20,000-mt cargo from National Iranian Oil Co. at Assaluyeh port for India/Sri Lanka or Singapore, and in September it is loading another NIOC cargo at Bandar Imam Khomeini, or Assaluyeh, bound for China, according to shipping sources and Platts ship tracking software cFlow.
The VLGC Sea Danuta is loading a 44,000-mt NIOC cargo this month at Assaluyeh for China, and is currently off-port limits near Ras Tanura, according to cFlow and sources.
Last month, the vessel had been at several eastern China ports such as Jiangsu and Shanghai.
Siam Lucky Marine is loading this month a combined cargo from NIOC and Kharg Petrochemical Co., or KPC, for delivery to China on board the VLGC Schumi.
Alpine International, a trading company which has been regularly moving Iranian cargoes to the East since February, is loading a 44,000-mt cargo from Petrochemical Commercial Co., or PCC, aboard the Gas Jasmine and a similar PCC cargo aboard the VLGC Alpha for the journey to China, sources said.
An Iranian businessman, Imam Jome, will be loading at Kharg Island this month a 45,000-mt cargo from KPC aboard the VLGC GMS Unity, formerly called Penguin, for an Indian destination.
Shipping sources said that Jome has bought three smaller LPG vessels and has been looking to acquire a VLGC, but it was not known if he had made the purchase.
Jome had also been moving smaller lots of 5,000 mt each to Iraq since January, sources said.
On top of the shipments to Asia, three smaller vessels — the 5,000-mt White Pearl, 5,900-mt Black Pearl and 3,600-mt Liberty N, also call at Assaluyeh three times a month to load a total of 50,000 mt for deliveries to Iraq under term deals, shipping sources said.
SOME TALKS UNDERWAY FOR 2015 SUPPLY
Another trading company making regular shipments of Iranian LPG to China since February is Triliance Petrochemical Co.
The Shanghai-based firm will this month be loading a 44,000-mt NIOC cargo aboard the Gas Sapphire for China, shipping sources said.
According to cFlow, the vessel is overdue for arrival at Assaluyeh and is currently in the Persian Gulf, after last discharging a cargo in Raoping, China around mid-August, cFlow showed. Triliance was also slated to load two 44,000-mt cargoes in August at Assaluyeh for China.
The VLGC Carmen, formerly the Sam Russ, loaded end-August/early September and is due to arrive in Fang Cheng, eastern China late September, cFlow showed. The VLGC Gas Beryl also carried a 44,000-mt cargo which arrived in Hukou around September 6, cFlow showed.
Industry sources said the key person behind Triliance Petrochemical Co., which also moves propane and methanol to China, is a Hong Kong-based Iranian businessman who has worked in the export unit of a number of Iranian petrochemical companies.
Industry sources said that Iranian exporters have started to negotiate on contracts for 2015, and a team visited China last month to discuss with an unspecified Chinese buyer for a one-year contract involving around 600,000 mt of LPG.
They added that Chinese buyers had bought term and spot cargoes this year at double-digit discounts.
Traders said that due to the delay in the startup of proposed propane dehydrogenation, or PDH, plants some Chinese petrochemical companies that have taken contracted propane had been reselling some of their cargoes since early this year, including those from Iran.
This had also contributed to the ample supplies in the Asian market this year — along with the rising flows of Western cargoes — and helped to meet steadily growing demand in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, as well as stabilize spot prices, traders said.
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