Japanese LNG Imports Continue To Fall
Japanese imports of LNG fell by 8.2% yr/yr in the first half of 2019, data released by the finance ministry July 18 showed.
The largest importer of the chilled fuel imported 38.6m metric tonnes of LNG in January-June, compared to just over 42m mt over the same period last year. June volumes were down 6% year on year at 5.2m tonnes.
Japan is currently the world’s largest importer of the super-chilled gas. However, China is widely predicted to take that crown in the coming years.
Japanese imports of LNG have declined since a peak in 2014, with nuclear output rising as plants shuttered for checks in the wake of the accident at Fukushima come back on line. Mild weather and high inventories have also been cited as factors in falling demand.
The fall in LNG imports in the first half of 2019 also came as overall trade dropped amid global uncertainties. Total imports fell by 1.1%; exports by 4.7%. That slowdown helped trim energy demand across the board. Oil and coal imports also declined in January-June.
Imports from Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of LNG, fell by 7.7% in the first six months of the year. Qatari gas exporter Qatargas announced on July 16 the shipment of its 3,000th cargo of LNG to Japan since starting deliveries to the country more than two decades ago.
Imports of LNG stemming from Russia, which is pushing to boost exports to Asian markets, fell by 5%. In late June, a consortium featuring Mitsui and Japan Oil Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec) agreed to buy a 10% stake in Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project.