Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea, the world’s second- biggest buyer liquefied natural gas, said it paid 25 percent more for imports of the fuel in 2011 amid a 12.5 percent increase in volumes from a year earlier.
The country paid about $650 a metric ton, equivalent to about $12.50 per million British thermal units, on a delivered basis for term and spot cargoes, according to Bloomberg calculations based data from the Korean International Trade Association website. The cost the year before was about $522. Overseas purchases rose to 36.7 million tons last year from 32.6 million in 2010, the figures showed.
Spot and short-term purchases cost on an average $607 a ton last year, up 22 percent from 2010, according to calculations based on the data. That’s equivalent to $11.70 per million Btu, about $2.70 higher than the 2011 average for U.K. front month gas futures, typically used to price spot cargoes to Asia, according to calculations based on Bloomberg data. U.S. benchmark gas averaged $4.028 per million Btu last year.
The Japan Crude Cocktail, a basket of imported oil into Japan used to price LNG cargoes sold to Asia under long-term contracts, averaged $107.34 a barrel last year, up 36 percent from the 2010 average, according to data on Bloomberg.
Short-term sales volumes rose by 20 percent to 6 million tons. The biggest spot suppliers last year were Trinidad & Tobago followed by Nigeria, which accounted for a combined 2.71 million, according to the data.
The North Asian nation bought 4.81 million tons of the power-station fuel in December, up 47 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.
South Korea, which imports almost all its natural gas, paid about $749 a ton for December purchases, compared with $506 a ton a year earlier, the data showed.
The nation buys most of the fuel under multiyear contracts from countries including Qatar, Oman and Indonesia. State-run Korea Gas Corp. is the nation’s biggest importer of LNG.
--Editors: Christian Schmollinger, Mike Anderson
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