Japan Crude Imports for Power Generation Decline in February

Japanese crude imports for power generation fell 30 percent in February as warmer weather curbed demand for electricity to heat buildings.

Japan, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, bought 1.17 million kiloliters of the fuel for producing electricity, equivalent to 262,000 barrels a day, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed today. That’s down from 1.67 million kiloliters a year earlier. Total purchases slid 11 percent to 15.85 million kiloliters, the report also showed. Power plants accounted for 7.4 percent of imports.

Temperatures in Japan averaged 6.2 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit) last month, compared with 5.4 degrees in February 2012, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Electricity generated and purchased by the country’s 10 regional power companies declined 7.2 percent from a year earlier to 78.5 billion kilowatt-hours because of the warmer weather and energy conservation measures by customers, the Federation of Electric Power Companies said March 14.

Crude shipments from Vietnam, which produces grades that Japanese generators can burn, dropped 55 percent from a year earlier to 175,984 kiloliters, today’s data showed.

Iran Imports

Oil-product imports rose 1.2 percent to 3.48 million kiloliters in the month, while exports slid 19 percent to 1.27 million, the ministry said. Domestic oil-product sales fell 7 percent to 17.39 million kiloliters.

Japan’s oil purchases from Iran declined 32 percent from February 2012 to 953,848 kiloliters. The Persian Gulf nation, which is under international sanctions on its energy exports because of its nuclear program, was Japan’s sixth-biggest supplier after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Russia and Kuwait.

Statistics based on custom-clearance data yesterday by the Ministry of Finance showed a 16 percent increase in crude imports from Iran. Today’s trade ministry figures are based on data collected from buyers via questionnaire and include fuel in so-called bonded storage tanks that haven’t yet passed through customs.

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