LNG market entry is hard. Here's why.

You are a downstream state-owned company that has been in business for a long time. You have a strong brand and good reputation in China. You have excellent creditworthiness. You have a licence to import LNG. You have a terminal access certificate to a major LNG receiving terminal.

Objectively, you are an excellent potential buyer. So why is it so difficult to be taken seriously by established Suppliers and Traders?

I'd like to offer some possible reasons:

1. Brand Recognition A reputable Chinese company may simply have low brand recognition outside of China. At the time of writing, the majority of Suppliers and Traders see CNOOC, CNPC and Sinopec as Tier 1, and everyone else as Tier 2 (100% private, state owned downstream companies, state/private JVs). This is of course a vast oversimplification.

2. Relevant Commercial and Operational experience

LNG is a commodity that is constantly being lost as vapour while at sea. Therefore there is a time sensitivity to every cargo. What this means to a Seller, is that a cargo MUST be able to be discharged as scheduled. Any failure or delay in delivering/discharging a cargo means  cargo value is being lost each day (as "boil off"). A cargo that fails to discharge will be treated by the market as a distressed cargo. The Seller will want to aim to sell it quickly and potentially at an economic loss. Thus, an operationally inexperienced Buyer represents a high degree of counter-party risk for a Seller.

3. Proven Terminal Access Possessing a terminal access certificate and having practically demonstrated terminal influence again and again are two very different things. The market needs to see over time that you have strong domestic relationships and influence.

4. Market Approach

The LNG industry has developed to have norms of commercial behaviour. It is like a specific language. If you can't speak commercial LNG, it makes your approach appear clumsy and not serious. Unfortunately, you only get one chance to make a good impression. When your company does not have strong brand recognition, this can result in approaches to Suppliers being ignored.

Successful new market entrants successfully procure their first cargo by using the reputations and relationships of experienced commercial advisors. The advisory firm assisting you MUST HAVE: 

1. An extensive global network with Suppliers and Traders

2. A team with practical operational experience negotiating LNG purchases

3. A team with experience in marine and shipping operations

4. A successful track record of procuring LNG for new market entrants

5. The ability to explain commercial risks in an way you understand

Equity Lifting Solutions has over 100 years combined experience. Our team has strong relationships with Suppliers and Traders. We have successfully facilitated LNG procurement for vetted new market entrant Buyers and guided them through all stages of the LNG procurement process.

For more information on successful market entry strategies, please contact: Ken Chan, Managing Partner, Equity Lifting Solutions Pty Ltd +61405990999 

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