LNG World News, Mar 18, 2011
South Korea said on Friday Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS), the world’s top corporate buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), would supply 400,000-500,000 tonnes of LNG to quake-hit Japan, as requested by Japanese utilities.
South Korea’s economy ministry said in a statement that the state-run entity’s gas supply on a swap basis would be made from late March through April, following a government announcement on the supply plan on Sunday.
Global LNG prices jumped about 10 percent this week after Friday’s earthquake shut nuclear power plants in the world’s third-largest economy [after the U.S. and China], prompting increased demand for LNG.
Analysts reckon the world’s top LNG buyer may import about an extra 1 billion cubic feet per day to make up for the 9 gigawatts of nuclear power lost.
“We will continue to discuss with Japan possible further supplies if needed, while we maintain sufficient inventory levels,” said a government source with direct knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified. [...]
South Korea’s current LNG inventory stands at 1.5 million tonnes, adding that supply to Japan would come from incoming shipments, not current inventory, the source said.
The ministry also noted South Korea’s emergency oil product and boron supply to Japan, referring to about 4.5 million barrels of shipments by four Korean refiners, as Japanese refiners grapple with the loss of about a third of their 4.5 million barrel-per-day refining capacity [sic].
Japan’s worst quake on record, which sparked a nuclear crisis, has caused the loss of around 9,700 megawatts (MW) of nuclear and 10,831 MW of thermal power generation.
To help stop fission nuclear reactions, South Korea said on Wednesday it would send some of its reserve boron to Japan after a request from Tokyo for the metalloid, which is being mixed with seawater to limit damage to Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors. [Read full]
(Japan is the third largest oil consumer in the world behind the United States and China and the third-largest net importer of crude oil. It is the world's largest importer of both LNG and coal---please see Japan Energy Profile, prepared by the U.S. EIA, here. For information on Japan's nuclear crisis and its impact, please see also my posts under the category/label "Japan." South Korea is the world's second largest importer of LNG. For Asian LNG market, please see my posts here and here. -- D.R.)