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Title: An operational model for liquefied natural gas spot and arbitrage sales
Author: Nikhalat-Jahromi, Hamed
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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As more buyers become interested in the spot purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the share of spot trade in LNG business increases. This means that the cash flowing into the upstream of LNG projects is a combination of that generated by deliveries to long-term contract (LTC) customers and uncommitted product and arbitrage spot sales. LTC cash flows are more predictable while uncommitted product and arbitrage cash flows, affected by the dynamics of supply and demand, are more volatile and therefore less predictable. In this research, we formulate an inventory routing problem (IRP) which maximizes the profit of an LNG producer with respect to uncommitted product and arbitrage spot sales, and also LTC deliveries at an operational level. Using the model, the importance of arbitrage, interest rates and compounding frequency in profit maximization, and also the significance of interest rates and fluctuation in spot prices in decision-making for spot sales of uncommitted product are studied. It is proven that writing traditional LTCs with relaxed destination clauses which assist in arbitrage is beneficial to the LNG producer. However, in contrast to what was predicted neither the interest rate nor the compounding frequency has any importance in profit maximization when no change of selling strategy is observed. Apart from these, it is shown that there is a trade-off between the expectation of higher spot prices and the inventory and shipping costs in decision-making for spot sales of uncommitted product in the LNG industry. Finally, it is observed that the interest rate can affect the set of decisions on spot sales of uncommitted product, although the importance of such changes in profit remains to be further explored.
Supervisor: Onof, Christian ; Angeloudis, Panagiotis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral