Japan’s September LNG imports down, prices surge

Japan, the world’s top liquefied natural gas importer this year, reported lower LNG imports in September as prices continue to rise.

According to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japan’s LNG imports dropped by 1.6 percent year-on-year in September to about 5.32 million tonnes.

This compares to 6.27 million tonnes in August, which also marked a slight decrease when compared to the same month in 2021.

Japan’s coal imports for power generation also dropped year-on-year in September.

Coal imports were down by 4.3 percent to 9.50 million tonnes, the data shows.

Prices jump

According to the preliminary data, the September LNG import bill of about $5.85 billion increased by 164.2 percent when compared to the same month last year.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said earlier this month that it did not publish data for spot LNG prices in September as there were less than two companies that imported spot LNG during the month.

JOGMEC did not publish the data for August as well.

Spot LNG prices dropped during October but they remain high. The JKM LNG price price for December settled at $30.315 per mmBtu on Wednesday.

Japan is also helping firms, such as Jera, to buy LNG supplies due to high prices and to ensure a stable supply of electricity in Japan.

Russian, US LNG deliveries down

As per LNG shipments to Japan in September, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia rose by 60.9 percent to 1.50 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments from countries such Qatar were down by 73.8 percent to 253,000 tonnes.

Additionally, shipments from Russia dropped by 10.7 percent to 582,000 tonnes, while US deliveries decreased by 41.9 percent to 190,000 tonnes.

Top LNG importer

China became the world’s largest LNG importer last year, overtaking Japan by more than four million tonnes, but the roles changed again this year and Japan continues to be the world’s top LNG importer.

With the September figure, Japan took about 55.27 million tonnes of LNG in the January-September period.

China is yet to release the official numbers for September. The country imported about 40.64 million tonnes in January-August, or about 9.3 million tonnes less than Japan.

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