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Japan Power Utilities December LNG Consumption Rises 32 Percent

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s power utilities increased consumption of liquefied natural gas by 32 percent in December as most of the country’s nuclear power stations remain idled for checks after the Fukushima disaster.

Power companies led by Tokyo Electric Power Co. used 4.98 million metric tons of LNG last month, up from 3.76 million tons a year earlier, according to data released by the Federation of Electric Power Companies today.

Crude-oil use increased more than fivefold to 1.39 million kiloliters, while fuel-oil consumption almost tripled to 1.36 million kiloliters, according to the data.

The average operating rate of nuclear plants in December was 15 percent, down from 68 percent last year, it said. Japan had six reactors operating with capacity of 5,624 megawatts, or 11 percent of the total, at the end of December as plants undergo extensive safety checks following the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station in March.

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

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                December 2011           December 2010

CONSUMPTION
Fuel oil         1,358,863                465,583
Crude oil        1,389,140                275,615
LNG              4,981,194              3,762,716
Coal             4,744,200              4,590,624

PURCHASES
Fuel oil         1,321,999                572,355
Crude oil        1,354,115                265,766
LNG              5,021,856              3,945,089
Coal             4,291,992              4,944,751

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To contact the reporter on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net

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