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Japan Demand for Oil Rising to Replace Nuclear Power, IEA Says

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Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s power sector will buy an additional 465,000 barrels of oil a day this year if all of its nuclear plants are idle after April, offsetting declines elsewhere in the nation, the International Energy Agency said.

Total demand for oil in Japan may rise 0.9 percent this year to 4.5 million barrels a day, with the power sector consumption growing by an average of 320,000 barrels daily, the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly report. Japan’s oil demand increased by 9.5 percent in December.

“The Japanese oil demand outlook remains highly uncertain, and the possibility of a ‘no nuclear’ capacity profile, at least for 2012, remains a real one,” according to the report. “The incremental need for oil in the power sector offset contracting demand elsewhere in the economy and led to Japanese oil demand rising overall in 2011.”

Japan has three nuclear reactors operating with a capacity of 3,138 megawatts, or 6.4 percent of the total, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News on Jan. 27.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dinakar Sethuraman in New Delhi at dinakar@bloomberg.net

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