Japan’s LNG Imports Rise to Record for Year; Oil Declines

Japan’s imports of liquefied natural gas rose to a record last fiscal year as utilities turned to fossil fuels after the Fukushima nuclear disaster led to the shutdown of almost all the nation’s atomic reactors.

Japan purchased 83.18 million metric tons of LNG from overseas in the fiscal year ended March, up 18 percent from the previous 12 months, the finance ministry said in a preliminary report today. That’s the highest level since the government started collecting the data in 1980.

The cost of the fuel imports climbed to a record 5.4 trillion yen ($66 billion), compared with 3.5 trillion yen in fiscal 2010 and the previous high of 4.5 trillion in fiscal 2009, according to the report.

Utilities increased thermal power generation by 26 percent from a year earlier, data compiled by the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan shows. The average operating rate of nuclear power plants in the year ended March was 24 percent, a record low, it said.

The country’s crude-oil imports fell 2.4 percent to 209.85 million kiloliters in the fiscal year, the ministry said. The cost of the purchases gained 22 percent to 11.9 trillion yen.

The following table shows Japan’s imports for the fiscal year ended March:

                                         Year-on-Year Change
Crude oil          209.85                       -2.4%
Gasoline, Naphtha   27.77                       -1.5%
LNG                 83.18                       17.9%
LPG                 12.7                         1.4%
Coal               175.38                       -6.0%
 (Thermal Coal)    101.77                       -3.1%

(Crude oil and gasoline are in millions of kiloliters. LNG,
liquefied petroleum gas and coal are in millions of tons.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Jacob Adelman in Tokyo at jadelman1@bloomberg.net; 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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