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Japan’s Use of Oil May Surge by 300,000 Barrels a Day

Japanese utilities will use 300,000 more barrels of oil a day in 2012 than before last year’s nuclear crisis unless it restores some of its atomic reactors, according to the International Energy Agency.

Japan will also need an additional 23 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas to meet demand if utilities can’t access idled reactors, the IEA said today in a report.

Japan relied on nuclear power for almost 30 percent of its electricity before the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic station. It had just one of its 54 reactors operating as of March 26, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“A no-nuclear scenario can’t be ruled out, as public opinion channeled through local governments currently remains skeptical concerning the nuclear industry, despite the apparent economic imperatives supporting nuclear capacity restarts,” the IEA said in the report.

Japan’s government endorsed new safety measures on April 9 to allow switching on two Kansai Electric Power Co. reactors. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda is meeting with government officials today to discuss restarts, Kyodo reported.

With the return of some reactors, crude and fuel-oil demand will be 250,000 barrels a day more than before the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 wrecked three reactors at Tepco’s Fukushima plant northeast of Tokyo, the IEA said. LNG demand will be 19 billion cubic meters more, it said.

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