TOKYO Nov 21 Japanese utilities Kansai Electric
Power Co and Kyushu Electric Power Co said on
Wednesday they have agreed to jointly buy a total of 1 million
tonnes of low-sulphur high quality U.S. coal at prices
competitive with a similar type from Australia.
Australia is traditionally the biggest thermal coal supplier
to Japan. But given the shutdown of nuclear reactors in Japan
for safety checks after last year's Fukushima disaster,
utilities have stepped up efforts to cut fuel procurement costs.
The two companies, which were among the most nuclear-reliant
utilities in Japan, also said in a joint news conference that
they would consider extending the one-year contract with Oxbow
Carbon of the United States further.