SINGAPORE: Several energy firms are setting up dedicated gas trading desks in Singapore as they try to capture the fast growing liquefied natural gas market (LNG) in Asia.
As of September, Singapore has over 45 companies with an LNG trading or business development presence here, Enterprise Singapore told Reuters on Monday. This is up from the nearly 40 companies set up in the city-state in May this year, according to local media.
“We are looking to develop Singapore’s LNG industry further, as LNG becomes a more important component of Asia’s energy mix,” Enterprise Singapore told Reuters in an emailed statement on Monday.
Singapore has been expanding its LNG infrastructure by increasing storage capacity and also adding capabilities to bulk-break cargoes, an Enterprise Singapore spokeswoman said.
“As such, increasing numbers of energy traders in Singapore have begun expanding into LNG,” she added.
Asia’s appetite for the super-chilled fuel, led by China, is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, attracting investment and triggering new LNG trading desks opening globally.
A recent push for more transparency in the sector has boosted spot trades of Asian LNG. Singapore, which is the Asian oil trading hub, is seen as a natural hub for LNG especially for companies that already have a presence in the city-state and are looking to expand into LNG.
The gas and power division of China National Offshore Oil Co (CNOOC) has set up an office in Singapore, which it will officially open on Monday, several sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
It will have about five staff including two people handling commercial matters, one of the sources said.
Singapore business registry records show Shen Yiming and An Zichun as directors of the company, which was registered in the city-state in September with a paid up capital of $10 million.
A CNOOC spokesman did not immediately reply to a Reuters query on the matter but the sources said the Singapore office will handle spot LNG trading for one of China’s biggest importers of the fuel.
China’s Beijing Gas, whose Singapore office was incorporated in early 2017, beefed up its headcount this year to a total of five people, a source familiar with the matter said.
The company recently received approval from the central Chinese government to build a LNG terminal which is expected to be ready by 2022. It is aiming to secure import cargoes for when the terminal is ready, the source added.
Aramco Trading Company and Japan’s JERA are also some of the companies adding headcount to their Singapore offices.