I always remember in my early days in the LPG business being told about this venerable place in London called the Baltic Exchange, set up in 1744 after shipowners and merchants gathered to discuss and transact business over a cup of coffee, at the Virginia and Baltick Coffee House, on Threadneedle Street.
In yesterday’s SIMON SAYS I suggested that the perceived axiom of U.S. shale development’s future, the export barrel, was having a degree of doubt bestowed upon it., Albeit a somewhat near-sighted view, but as people say, be careful what you wish for! With U.S. inventory levels teasing the record peaks of November 2015, a lot is hinging on the weather in the U.S., and in case it might come as a late, but very welcome saviour.
There’s an unusual feel about the LPG market at the moment, with a number of questions that just seem too difficult to answer, some may never get answered. One question though that always seems to be on the lips of LPG players around the world is the weather. It’s not just the way us Brits, as we are affectionately referred to here in Texas, start a morning conversation, it’s also what drives our market, especially over the next couple of quarters.
Lionel Charveriat, (74), has become one of the father figures in the LPG industry. After a number of years on the trading side with Gazocean, he decided to move into broking and now heads up Libra Fearnleys in Paris. He still finds time to pick up the phone to broker his next deal and his views of the industry are normally forthright, but here I want to try and find out a bit more about him, the person!
Today, nearly 1.3 billion people are living in the 54 countries that make up the continent of Africa, and by 2025 it is expected to surpass the population of the mighty China. But it’s also the world’s poorest inhabited continent, with a combined GDP that makes up less than a third of the GDP of the U.S., and although there has been economic optimism in the last few years, it’s fragile to say the least.
There is one thing for certain about the production of LPG in the world, and especially in the U.S., it’s the fact that LPG just doesn’t call the shots, it never has. Therefore, any reliability in future LPG production numbers lays very much in the hands of the oil and gas producers, especially those that have led the U.S. shale revolution over the last decade.
In yesterday’s SIMON SAYS we started to explore the Saudi Aramco Contract Price (CP) and asked the question “how do parties really make money from CP related contracts out of the Middle East?” We went a little way down memory lane, but what seemed to be the answer, maybe not the only answer, lay in the end year activities, both calendar and fiscal, of the Japanese LPG importers and the value of the product they hold in storage.
I’ve always found it difficult to understand how on earth anyone makes money with an LPG purchase deal based on Saudi Aramco’s Contract Price (CP). In fact, I’ve rarely found anyone else who knows how it’s done either. But around this time of year, every year, CP becomes the talk of the market, as if it possesses this mesmerizing draw, sucking in believers and non-believers by the score.
It really seems as if the LPG market has tried to move towards a greater degree of homogeneity in recent years, especially in the face of a market that has become far more multifaceted, truly global, more transparent, and increasingly influenced by corporate performance, in relation to stock market valuations. But I think the complexities and differences are far more exciting!
It has to be over twenty years ago since I last set foot in Taiwan, and I must have met with both CPC and FPC, but my memory pretty much stops there. I do, though, remember visiting a company called LCY Chemicals, I don’t think they have been featured in the LPG import business into Taiwan since, but they did have an import facility in Zhenjiang, China, but only for smaller pressurised LPG cargoes.