Japan boosts LNG imports in October

Japan’s monthly liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports increased in October compared to the same month last year, according to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

The country’s LNG imports rose by 6.4 percent year-on-year in October to about 5.41 million tonnes, the data shows.

LNG imports dropped compared to 5.52 million tonnes in the previous month, which also marked an increase compared to the previous year.

Japan’s coal imports for power generation decreased in October compared to the last year.

Coal imports were down by 5.1 percent to 8.61 million tonnes, and Japan paid about $1.62 billion for these imports, a drop of 52.4 percent compared to the last year, the data shows.

LNG import bill declines

According to the preliminary data, the October LNG import bill of about $3.29 billion decreased by 37.6 percent compared to the same month last year.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said the average price of spot LNG cargoes for delivery to Japan contracted in October 2023 and scheduled to be delivered from the month onward was $14.7/MMBtu, JOGMEC said.

This compares to $12.2/MMBtu in September.

Also, the average price of spot LNG cargoes that were delivered in Japan within the month of October regardless of the month when the contract was made (arrival-based price) was $13.8/MMBtu, compared to 11.9/MMBtu in the prior month.

JOGMEC also said in a report this week that the “Northeast Asian assessed spot LNG price JKM for the previous week (November 6 – November 10) fell to high US$15s on November 10 as demand remained sluggish on the back of warm weather and ample inventories from the low US$16s the previous week.”

METI announced on November 8 that Japan’s LNG inventories for power generation totaled 2.37 million tonnes as of November 5, up 0.19 million tonnes from the previous week.

LNG deliveries

As per LNG shipments going to Japan in October, deliveries from Asia rose by 26.6 percent to 1.19 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments increased by 12.2 percent to 421,000 tonnes in October.

Moreover, shipments from Russia dropped by 4.6 percent to 506,000 tonnes, while US deliveries surged by 175.2 percent to 568,000 tonnes in October.

The data does not include spot volumes.

Japan was the world’s top LNG importer in 2022, overtaking China, but both of the countries took fewer volumes compared to the year before.

However, China has overtaken Japan to become the world’s top importer of LNG this year.

China’s natural gas imports, including pipeline gas and LNG, rose in October to about 8.79 million tonnes. Official data for only LNG imports is not yet available.

During the January-September period, Japan imported some 48.9 million tonnes, down by about 2.2 million tonnes compared to China’s 51.1 million tonnes.

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