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Qatar meets 40% gas needs of Japan firm

REUTERS

TOKYO

CHUBU Electric Power Company said it expected to buy 13 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the year to March 2013, about the same as the past year, while it does not yet know when its sole nuclear plant will restart.

Chubu, Japan’s thirdbiggest utility, shut its 3,617 megawatt nuclear plant in a quake-prone area in Hamaoka in May last year, following a rare government request on concerns it could be hit by an earthquake like the one that triggered the Fukushima disaster a year ago.

Chubu has since stepped up power generation at fossilfuel power plants to meet demand in the central Japan area, where several auto and electronics parts factories are located, pushing up its LNG imports for 2011/12 from an original plan for 8.4 million tonnes.

Chubu President Akihisa Mizuno also said on Friday that Japan’s most LNGreliant utility had procured most of its planned LNG supplies for 2012/13 in ways that help it prepare for the risk of a closure of the Straight of Hormuz, which officials in Iran have threatened amid increasing tensions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“Forty percent of our power plants, based on total power generation, now run on Qatari LNG,” Mizuno said, referring to the company’s long-term LNG purchase contract with Qatar.

“We thus understand the magnitude of an impact on our power supply from the Straight of Hormuz issue,” he said at a news conference.

Chubu currently holds the equivalent of one month of LNG on land and in ships and plans to increase that storage, he added.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and Japan’s biggest buyer of LNG, bought 24 million tonnes of LNG in the year to February, up 20 percent during the same period a year earlier, according to the utility’s data.

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