Japanese Power Utilities Boost October Liquefied Natural Gas Imports 20%

Japan’s 10 regional utilities imported 20.1 percent more liquefied natural gas in October as reliance on thermal generation grows because of the lowest operating rates at nuclear plants in at least 34 years.

Power-generation companies led by Tokyo Electric Power Co. imported 3.9 million metric tons of LNG in the month, up from 3.25 million tons a year earlier, according to data released by the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan today.

Operating rates for nuclear stations fell to 18.5 percent of capacity, the lowest since the federation stated compiling monthly data in April 1977. Thermal power generation rose 38.8 percent from a year earlier.

Of the 54 reactors in the country, 44 units were idled at the end of October for maintenance or because of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

The following table shows Japanese utilities’ consumption and purchases of fuel oil, crude, LNG and coal for October. Fuel oil and crude volumes are in kiloliters, while those for LNG and coal are in metric tons.

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                  October 2011           Change on year

CONSUMPTION
Fuel oil           933,653                   253.3%
Crude oil        1,067,205                  1244.0%
LNG              3,904,447                    31.7%
Coal             4,040,405                    -1.0%

PURCHASE
Fuel oil           974,751                   205.5%
Crude oil          950,789                   660.0%
LNG              3,897,747                    20.1%
Coal             4,122,738                    -1.5%

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To contact the reporter on this story: Yuji Okada in Tokyo at yokada6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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