A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker has left Papua New Guinea laden with the first export cargo of the supercooled fuel since the country's giant LNG project resumed production after a major earthquake triggered a shutdown in February, Thomson Reuters Eikon shiptracking data showed on Monday.
The tanker's destination wasn't immediately clear, but the resumption of shipments could put pressure on spot LNG prices, traders said.
ExxonMobil Corp restarted output at the project near the capital Port Moresby a fortnight ahead of schedule, its Australian partners said late last week.
"We confirm an LNG cargo has been loaded onto the Kumul tanker," a spokeswoman from ExxonMobil told Reuters in an email reply.
The 172,000-cubic meter capacity LNG tanker Kumul, custom-built for the PNG LNG project, left the project terminal with a draft of 91 percent, suggesting it is nearly full, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon shiptracking data.
The Kumul unloaded an LNG cargo at the PNG terminal on April 4. It was anchored nearby until April 14, before loading the cargo from the terminal on April 15, the data showed.
ExxonMobil had said in early April that it had imported an LNG cargo to the project's terminal in order ensure tanks at the PNG facilities remained cold.
The 170,000-cubic meter capacity LNG tanker Papua is currently anchored near the Kumul Marine Terminal, while the 165,000-cubic meter capacity LNG tanker Bishu Maru is headed to Port Moresby, the Eikon data showed.
(Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Richard Pullin)
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