UPDATE 1-Japan sees 2012 LNG demand rising by 20 mln T

Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:03am EST

Related Topics

* Demand seen up by 12 mln T in 2011

* Japan imported 70 mln T in 2010 (Adds detail)

By Olesya Astakhova

MOSCOW, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Japanese demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is expected to rise by 20 million tonnes next year in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp company official said on Thursday.

"Additional LNG demand will rise by 20 million tonnes in 2012 (compared to 2010) if all the reactors under inspection do not restart their operations," Daisuke Harada, JOGMEC's deputy general manager, told an energy conference in Moscow.

According to his presentation, Japan's demand for the frozen gas is expected to rise by 12 million tonnes this year.

The country imported more than 70 million tonnes of LNG in 2010 from Australia, one of its biggest suppliers, as well as from Malaysia, Indonesia and Qatar.

Japan's government is working to come up with a new energy policy by next summer. Regardless of a new policy, utilities should avert a power shortage next summer by replacing power capacity from idled reactors with burning more gas and oil.

Russia has sent some additional cargoes of LNG to Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster from its Gazprom-led Sakhalin-2 project, where annual capacity stands at around 10 million tonnes and its ability to ramp up production is limited.

Up to 60 million tonnes of new annual capacity to produce LNG is under consideration in Russia, but Sakhalin-2 is the only operating plant in the country.

Gazprom and its partners in the project, including Shell , are studying plans to boost its capacity.

"We count on Sakhalin-2 in the future," Harada said. (Reporting by Olesya Astakhova in Moscow; additional reporting by Risa Maeda in Tokyo; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Jason Neely)

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