LNG Stocks Fell To The Lowest Level Since December

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The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Jan. 12 that Japan’s LNG stockpiles held by major power utilities decreased 7.3% to 2.16 million mt on Jan. 9 from 2.33 million mt the week before, the lowest since hitting 2.18 million mt on Dec. 5 as reported by S&P Global.

LNG stocks

The Jan. 9 LNG stocks were well above the 1.49 million mt held at the end of January last year, as well as the four-year average of 1.67 million mt for the end of that month, according to METI data.

The inventory data was being closely monitored by the LNG market as Japan has experienced snowstorms and unexpected outages at coal-fired power plants in recent weeks, supporting gas-fired power generation.

“We are observing the impact of Indonesia coal ban on market participants in Japan,” said a source with a Japanese power utility.

Multiple ships loaded with coal bound for Japan are among 14 ships that could depart Indonesia as soon as a decision on whether to lift the country’s export ban is made Jan. 12, a METI official told S&P Global Platts Jan. 11.

There was no update from an expected Jan. 12 decision on the export ban following assessments by a cross-ministerial team, which will decide how exports will resume in the context of the fulfilment of domestic market obligations.

Heavy snow

Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda said Jan. 7 that the area covered by the TEPCO Power Grid could have faced a power outage had there been any glitch at the power plants, as its utilization had reached a high 97% of available supply on Jan. 6 because of a significant increase in power demand from heavy snow.

The Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators on Jan. 6 issued four directives to the TEPCO Power Grid such that it was able to obtain additional electricity from other regional utilities, including additional orders to get up to 2.76 GW of electricity over 8 pm-12 am and a maximum of 2.74 GW of electricity over 12 am-9 am Jan. 7.

Kimitsu Cooperative Thermal Power Company is a 50:50 joint venture between JERA and Nippon Steel.

1 gas-fired unit at the Sodegaura thermal power plant over Jan. 13-Feb.

13 as part of its response to a rise in seawater temperatures, the company said its filing to the HJKS on Jan. 12.

Japan’s power supply-demand balance tightened last January when the country experienced a surge in power demand that forced local power utilities to restrict gas-fired power generation due to low LNG stocks.

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Source: S&P Global

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