Japan, the world’s top liquefied natural gas importer, reported slightly higher LNG imports in January while the import bill rose 57 percent compared to the same month last year.
According to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japan’s LNG imports rose by 0.5 percent year-on-year in January to about 6.82 million tonnes.
In addition, Japan’s coal imports for power generation rose in January when compared to the last year.
Coal imports were up by 1.3 percent to 10.6 million tonnes, the data shows.
According to the preliminary data, the January LNG import bill of about $6.52 billion increased by 57 percent when compared to the same month last year.
State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) did not publish both the contact-based and the arrival-based spot LNG price in January as there were less than two companies that imported spot LNG.
The average price of spot LNG cargoes for delivery to Japan contracted in December was $30.8 per mmBtu.
The JKM LNG price for April settled at $15.605 per mmBtu on Wednesday.
Russian, US LNG deliveries drop
As per LNG shipments going to Japan in January, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia rose by 17.8 percent to 1.88 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.
Middle East LNG shipments from countries such Qatar increased by 24.1 percent to 787,000 tonnes.
Moreover, shipments from Russia decreased by 9.7 percent to 704,000 tonnes while US deliveries dropped by 22.8 percent to 502,000 tonnes.
World’s largest LNG importer
Japan was the world’s top LNG importer in 2022, overtaking China, but both of the countries took fewer volumes when compared to the year before.
China overtook Japan as the world’s top LNG importing country in 2021 due to rising demand from the power generation and industrial sectors.
However, Covid-19 lockdowns and high prices curbed demand for LNG in China and the country received about 63.44 million tonnes of LNG last year, down 19.5 percent when compared to the year before, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
Japan’s LNG imports decreased by 3.1 percent year-on-year in 2022 to about 71.99 million tonnes.
Despite the drop, Japan took some 8.55 million tonnes more than China last year.