METI says Japan LNG stocks at highest level in five years

Japan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) inventories, held by the country’s major power utilities, reached the highest level in five years on October 15, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The ministry said LNG stocks hit around 2.3 million tonnes as of October 15, a rise of 0.7 million tonnes from a year earlier.

METI revealed this data after its first round of meetings on LNG fuel procurement. The meeting gathered executives from Japanese power and gas utilities, upstream companies and trading houses.

It is a part of METI’s efforts to ensure winter LNG supply after the domestic electricity price soared last winter and the country experienced power shortages due to tight supply and demand, following severe cold weather and low LNG inventories, the ministry said.

METI said the latest LNG inventories of major power utilities are at a “high level.”

“Even if the forthcoming winter turns out more severe cold than average year, we should be able to avoid the tightened supply and demand experienced in the last winter as long as each company maintains fuel procurements as planned,” METI said.

On the other hand, should power demand exceed expectations and there are unexpected large-scale power source outages, supply and demand may become tight, the ministry said.

Japan’s LNG imports dropped in September after logging a rise for three months in a row.

The country received 5.41 million tonnes of LNG last month, down 16.8 percent when compared to the same month last year, according to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance this week.

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