A realistic perspective on Japan’s LNG Demand after Fukushima

The earthquake and tsunami which left its toll of destruction and the tragic loss of life on Japan’s eastern seaboard on 11th March 2011 was a natural disaster of the highest order.  This working paper addresses methodically and in detail the extent of the impact of the events of 11th March 2011 on Japan’s energy complex and describes how, through higher utilisation of fossil fuel plant and enforced and voluntary demand conservation measures, the country has coped with this unprecedented reduction in generation capacity.

Looking forward, the key uncertainty is the policy-driven path of future nuclear generation. It is in this context that the paper provides a timely and robust evaluation of Japan’s future LNG import requirements based on a range of scenarios regarding the future utilisation of operable nuclear power facilities. Importantly the paper also analyses the strong growth in industrial consumption of LNG in the period prior to 2011 and identifies this as a continuing source of demand growth tempered perhaps by the prevailing linkage of imported LNG prices to crude oil.

Compared to the 2010 LNG consumptions levels of 69.8 million tonnes, the paper shows a range for 2015 from 75.5 to 84.8 million tonnes, and for 2020 78.1 to 88.7 million tonnes, depending on decisions to re-start nuclear plant.

By: Akira Miyamoto , Mitsuhiro Nakamura , Chikako Ishiguro