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UPDATE 1-Japan utilities Dec LNG use at record high with reactors shut
January 17, 2014 / 3:47 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Japan utilities Dec LNG use at record high with reactors shut

* 10 power firms burned nearly 5.27 mln tonnes of LNG in Dec
    * Thermal coal use highest ever for month of December
    * All Japan's nuclear units offline for safety checks

 (Adds milestones, table)
    TOKYO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Japan's regional power monopolies
consumed a record amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in
December, industry data showed, as they ramped up the use of the
super-cooled fuel to generate electricity while their nuclear
reactors remained shuttered.
    Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) and other regional
electricity monopolies are burning record amounts of natural gas
and thermal coal, while cutting back on more expensive crude and
fuel oil to reduce costs as their atomic units stay offline for
safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
    The 10 utilities burned just under 5.27 million tonnes of
LNG in December, a 4 percent rise for the same month a year
earlier, and the highest monthly figure since the Federation of
Electric Power Companies of Japan entered into its current
structure in April 1972, a group spokesman said on Friday.
    Japan is currently nuclear free for just the third time in
more than four decades, forcing the nation's power firms to rely
more on fossil fuels to generate power.
    Thermal coal use for the group's power firms grew 15 percent
year-on-year to 5.31 million tonnes last month, the highest
amount ever for the month of December, the spokesman said.
    But use of fuel oil fell by more than a fifth and crude oil
was down by over a third for the month.
    Japan's use of fuel oil to generate power is set to fall
over the next fiscal year to levels not seen since before the
Fukushima disaster, if enough of the country's nuclear reactors
are allowed back online. 
    The firms generated 82.32 billion kilowatt-hours of
electricity in December, down 2.2 percent from a year earlier.
    Below is a table of utilities' consumption and purchases
last month. Coal and LNG are in tonnes, while crude and fuel oil
are in barrels.  
 Consumption       Dec-13       Nov-13       Dec-12    yr/yr %
        Coal    5,307,974    4,781,607    4,631,646       14.6
    Fuel oil    8,201,874    5,743,877   10,489,632      -21.8
       Crude    6,246,545    5,827,437    9,013,397      -30.7
   Total oil   14,448,419   11,571,314   19,503,028      -25.9
         LNG    5,265,915    4,596,827    5,051,540        4.2
     Naphtha           10            1            0        n/a
    Purchase       Dec-13       Nov-13       Dec-12    yr/yr %
        Coal    5,061,087    5,098,855    4,375,053       15.7
    Fuel oil    7,553,433    5,851,319   10,086,606      -25.1
       Crude    6,660,049    5,581,279    9,554,609      -30.3
   Total oil   14,213,482   11,432,598   19,641,215      -27.6
         LNG    5,420,123    5,013,692    5,027,972        7.8
     Naphtha           0             0            0        n/a
 (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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