Kansai, Kyushu Electric to Purchase 1 Million Tons of U.S. Coal

Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. agreed to buy 1 million metric tons of thermal coal from U.S.-based Oxbow Carbon LLC.

The Japanese power companies will start receiving coal from Oxbow Carbon, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, after November under a one-year agreement, Kansai Electric said in a statement. Kyushu Electric plans to purchase 600,000 tons, and Kansai Electric will take the rest.

Kansai Electric and seven other Japanese power utilities posted a combined loss of 674 billion yen ($8.2 billion) in the six months ended Sept. 30 due to rising costs for running gas, oil and coal plants to make up for lost nuclear power generation. Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric were among the utilities most dependent on nuclear power.

The purchase would help the two Japanese utilities diversify suppliers, as they currently purchase most of thermal coal from Australia, Eiji Maekawa, general manager of Kansai Electric’s oil and coal purchasing group, told reporters in Tokyo today. Kansai Electric bought 3.9 million tons of thermal coal last fiscal year, about 71 percent of which was from Australia, Maekawa said.

About 66 percent of 6.2 million tons of thermal coal that Kyushu Electric bought in the year ended March came from Australia, and 22 percent came from Canada, according to Tetsuo Shuto, assistant manager in the business promotion group.

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