Japan’s LNG imports in May rise 16.3 percent

Japan, the world’s top LNG importer this year, boosted its imports of liquefied natural gas in May by 16.3 percent, while prices continue to rise, according to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

Last month Japan took about 5.76 million tonnes of LNG, rising from both 4.95 million tonnes in May 2021 and 5.57 million tonnes in the prior month.

Also, Japan’s coal imports for power generation rose year-on-year in May.

Coal imports increased by 7.1 percent to 8.54 million tonnes, the data shows.

Prices surge

Japan paid about $4.51 billion for LNG supplies in May. This marks a rise of 154.7 percent when compared to the same month in 2021, according to the data.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said earlier this month the average contract-based price for spot LNG cargoes shipped to Japan in May had reached $31.1 per mmBtu. This compares to 34.6 per mmBtu in April.

US, Russian LNG deliveries down

Looking at LNG shipments in May, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia rose by 56.7 percent to 1.35 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments from countries like Qatar were down by 15.9 percent to 545,000 tonnes.

Additionally, shipments from Russia decreased by 5.4 percent to 559,000 tonnes, while US deliveries dropped by 51.1 percent to 267,000 tonnes.

Top LNG importer

China became the world’s largest LNG importer last year, overtaking Japan by more than four million tonnes.

This year, Japan imported about 25.96 million tonnes in the first four months, up by more than four million tonnes compared to China’s volumes.

With the May figure, Japan took about 31.72 million tonnes of LNG in the five-month period and continues to be the world’s top LNG importer.

China has still not issued official data for LNG imports in May. The country’s total natural gas imports including piped gas and LNG reached 9.07 million tonnes in May.

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