North Asia’s liquefied natural gas benchmark rose above US$30 ($39.67) per million British Thermal units for the first time, breaking a barrier that few thought possible.

Freezing temperatures across North Asia have boosted gas consumption and caught short some end-users, sending the spot rate to new highs. Meanwhile, numerous production issues at export facilities and delays traversing the Panama Canal curbed supplies.

The Japan-Korea Marker, Asia’s benchmark for the fuel, rallied 15% to $32.494 per million Btu on Jan 12, the highest since S&P Global Platts began assessments in 2009. Trafigura Group on Tuesday bought an LNG cargo from Total SE for US$39.30 per million British thermal units on the S&P Global Platts Market on Close.

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