UPDATE 1-Japan LNG imports up for 2nd month in October y/y

Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:59am IST

* Volume of LNG imports rise 8.3 percent from a year earlier
in Oct
    * Crude imports fall 24.5 pct, first decline in 9 months
    * Crude decline in reaction to excess imports in Sept-MOF

 (Recasts to focus on LNG, adds details, table)
    TOKYO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Japan's liquefied natural gas
(LNG) imports rose 8.3 percent in October from a year ago to
6.67 million tonnes, preliminary data showed on Wednesday, on
strong demand for gas-fired power generation after last year's
Fukushima nuclear disaster. 
    The world's top buyer of LNG increased imports for the
second consecutive month, after shipping 7.13 million tonnes in
September, up 6.3 percent from a year ago, the Ministry of
Finance data showed.     
     Power utilities are the top LNG buyers in Japan. The sector
bought 4.47 million tonnes of LNG in October, up 14.7 percent
from a year earlier, according to data from the Federation of
Electric Power Companies of Japan. 
    The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 240 km
(150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, after the March 2011 earthquake
and tsunami has kept most of Japan's 50 reactors shut for safety
checks.
    Two reactors run by Kansai Electric Power Co in
western Japan resumed operation in July, but LNG demand is
likely to remain strong with the timetable for further openings
of reactors unclear as a newly launched nuclear watchdog 
tightens safety regulations.
    Japan, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, also imported
12.65 million kilolitres (2.57 million barrels per day) of crude
oil last month, down 24.5 percent from a year earlier, the MOF
data showed.
    The crude oil data, showing the first year-on-year decline
in nine months, was probably due to excess imports in the
previous month, a MOF official told a news conference. 
    Japan's imports in September were 20.79 million kl, up 22.5
percent from a year earlier.
    MOF's final data is due on Nov. 29, with the Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) scheduled to release October
oil data on Nov. 30.
    The oil industry regards METI's crude import data as a
benchmark because it tracks the actual import status of oil
tankers.  
    Following is a preliminary breakdown of energy imports for
last month, according to MOF data, with volumes of crude, oil
products and gasoline/naphtha in million kilolitres; LNG, LPG
and coal in million tonnes; values in million yen.
    
 Fuel type          Volume   Yr/Y(%)  Value      Yr/Yr(%)
 Mineral Fuels      n/a      n/a      1,577,628     -10.9
 Crude Oil           12.652    -24.5   720,133      -19.6
 Oil products       n/a      n/a        189,428       2.4
  (Mogas/naphtha)     2.354     -0.7    126,898       2.9
 LNG                  6.665      8.3    419,087       3.7
 LPG                  0.777    -12.5     63,939      10.5
 Coal                15.788      5.0   182,077      -18.0
  (Thermal Coal)      9.335      6.4    91,683       -6.6
 
    

 (Reporting by Risa Maeda)

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