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Japans LNG stocks on the rise
1/19/2021 12:00:00 AM

LNG inventories held by Japan's main power utilities have been on the rise, after hitting a low of slightly below 1mn t on 10 January.
LNG stocks at the utilities had increased back to around 1.25mn t by 17 January, according to Japan's trade and industry ministry (Meti). Meti conducted a survey among the country's main utilities in response to a recent LNG shortage, which capped gas-fired power output and led to tighter electricity supply.
Japanese utilities have been building LNG stocks since mid-November, ahead of the peak winter demand season. Inventories increased to around 1.8mn t in early December. But higher-than-expected electricity demand for heating purposes amid a cold snap had reduced the stocks of the fuel at a faster-than-expected pace.
The utilities have reduced their gas-fired power generation since late December in a bid to maintain minimum stock levels and continue operating power generators. Japan had lost 32,000MW of gas-fired capacity, including halted and reduced capacity, as of 2 January, which was halved to 15,000MW on 18 January, Meti said.
Japanese power utilities have stepped up efforts to procure LNG from the international spot market, while asking for help from gas utilities and also other power utilities. This has helped boost spot LNG prices in the Asia-Pacific market, where demand from other Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and China is also strong.
The front-half month ANEA price, the Argus assessment for northeast Asian spot deliveries, reached a record high of $39.72/mn Btu on 13 January. But prices fell sharply to $16.165/mn Btu on 18 January on the emergence of more supplies, particularly for delivery in the second half of February.
Source: Argus
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