TOKYO, Sept 19 Japanese demand for direct-burn
crude and fuel oil for power generation is likely to fall 10 to
20 percent this winter from a year earlier as cheaper coal-fired
energy output picks up, the head of the Petroleum Association of
Japan (PAJ) said.
Reduced appetite from the world's third-biggest oil consumer
could drag on prices that have risen more than 4 pct in
the past three months.
Two new coal-fired power units built by Tokyo Electric Power
Co in northern Japan, with a combined capacity of 1,600
megawatts, account for the bulk of the country's upturn in
coal-fired energy production.
Yasushi Kimura, who is also chairman of Japan's biggest
refiner JX Holdings, told reporters on Thursday that
oil demand would also depend on when nuclear plants resume
output amid public anxiety in the wake of the disaster at Tokyo
Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Demand for crude and fuel oil for power generation averaged
625,000 barrels per day (8.942 million kilolitres) in December
2012-February 2013, down 2.5 percent from a year earlier,
according to Reuters calculations based on data provided by PAJ.
Japan's coal imports are set to hit another record over the
next year as utilities burn more of the cheaper fuel following
the Fukushima crisis.