January 24, 2018 / 3:51 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Japan 2017 thermal coal imports hit record, LNG up for first year in three

    * Thermal coal imports rise 4.3 pct y-o-y to record
    * LNG purchases rise for first year in three
    * Crude oil imports fall to lowest since at least 1988

 (Adds details, table, bullets)
    TOKYO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Japan's thermal coal imports rose
to a record last year and liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchases
climbed for the first time in three years, as the fuels filled
the gap in power generation left by the country's slow restart
of its nuclear power plants.
    The figures underscore Japan's continued reliance on
imported fossil fuels for power generation, as it slowly
embraces renewable energy, while the majority of the country's
nuclear reactors remain shut following the Fukushima disaster
nearly seven years ago.
    Thermal coal imports rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier to
114.5 million tonnes in 2017, surpassing the 113.8 million
tonnes imported in 2015, preliminary Ministry of Finance data
showed on Wednesday. The costs of the imports rose 45 percent
from a year earlier.
    Imports of LNG inched up 0.4 percent to 83.632 million
tonnes the first annual increase since 2014, helped by a 5.4
percent rise in December imports as utilities stocked up
purchases to prepare for colder weather.
    Japan is the world's biggest importer of LNG, or gas chilled
to liquid form for transportation on ships. 
    Coal and LNG imports rose last year as court orders and
public opposition held up the return of nuclear plants, with
only four out of 42 operable reactors running.

    Crude oil imports last year fell 4.1 percent from 2016 to
3.22 million barrels per day, or 186.728 million kilolitres, ,
the lowest annual imports registered in ministry data that goes
back to 1988.
    The following tables lay out Japan's fossil fuels imports
for last month and for all of 2017, with volumes of crude in
barrels per day (bpd), oil products and gasoline/naphtha in
million kilolitres, LNG, LPG and coal in million tonnes and
values in millions of yen.    
    
 December
             Fuel    Volume   Yr/Yr(%)        Value   Yr/Yr(%)
    Mineral Fuels       n/a        n/a    1,667,030       27.6
        Crude Oil      3.55       -3.0      773,478       28.8
     Oil products       n/a        n/a      184,309       44.5
  (Mogas/naphtha)     2.661       12.1      123,190       45.9
              LNG     7.953        5.4      377,458       16.7
              LPG     1.100       14.1       75,802       63.1
             Coal    18.644       14.3      250,210       22.8
   (Thermal Coal)    10.447       10.5      124,043       28.0
 
Full-year 2017
             Fuel    Volume  Yr/Yr(%)         Value   Yr/Yr(%)
    Mineral Fuels       n/a       n/a    15,851,877       31.5
        Crude Oil      3.22      -4.1     7,150,611       29.3
     Oil products       n/a       n/a     1,543,687       43.7
  (Mogas/naphtha)    29.450      12.0     1,149,661       39.4
              LNG    83.632       0.4     3,915,432       19.3
              LPG    10.774      -1.2       604,325       35.0
             Coal   192.838       1.6     2,589,403       55.5
   (Thermal Coal)   114.538       4.3     1,276,484       45.0
 
    

 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Aaron Sheldrick and
Christian Schmollinger)
  
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