Bintulu LNG plant cuts exports amid technical uncertainty

The Bintulu LNG export plant is reportedly experiencing technical issues impacting the plant or fields. (Facebook pic)

LONDON: Malaysia’s Bintulu liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant is experiencing a sharp drop in shipments amid a logjam of vessels stuck outside port, potentially due to technical issues impacting the plant or fields, trade sources said.

Nine LNG tankers are currently anchored outside the Petronas-operated 24 million tonne per annum (mtpa) facility, according to ship-tracking data on Reuters Eikon.

Petronas could not be reached for comment out of normal business hours.

Loadings for a number of vessels were delayed and some vessels have been diverted from the plant.

The Seri Ayu tanker, for example, was due to load on June 1 but did not, and the Seri Bijaksana was scheduled to load yesterday but was instead diverted away from Bintulu.

The last tanker shipped from Bintulu was the Puteri Delima on June 3, according to shipping data.

Last week, Malaysian exports overall fell sharply owing to disruptions in Bintulu exports, with volumes slumping to 419 million cubic metres compared with 670 mcm the week before, according to Reuters Eikon data.

Traders said export disruptions only became evident in recent days, citing potential faults with upstream fields feeding Bintulu’s liquefaction trains, or issues with the plant’s heat exchangers, among other factors.

Chevron’s Gorgon LNG plant in Australia and Novatek’s Yamal in Russia had partial planned outages. The Darwin liquefaction plant in Australia should return to service this week.