News Desk

Japan’s crude imports fall to 39-year low


Japan’s 2018 oil imports fell to the lowest since at least 1979 while its liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchases and coal imports also dropped, reflecting the country’s declining population and slow economic growth.

The figures also underscore improved energy efficiency, and the emergence of alternative fuels for power generation and in transport, while a rise in nuclear power output last year in Japan further reduced fossil fuel imports.

Japan’s customs-cleared crude oil imports slid 5.8 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said.

Japan, the world’s fourth-biggest crude buyer, imported 3 million barrels per day (bpd), or 175.897 million kilolitres, of crude oil last year, the preliminary data showed. The figure marks the lowest since records were kept starting in 1979, an official at the customs office said.

Despite this, import costs jumped 25 per cent from a year earlier due to higher average annual prices for crude oil.

Imports of LNG slid 0.9 per cent to 82.854 million tonnes, the lowest since 2011, but their value increased 21 per cent.

Japan is the world’s biggest importer of LNG, or gas chilled to liquid form for transportation on ships.

Imports of thermal coal for power generation declined 0.6 per cent in 2018 to 113.670 million tonnes, the data showed.

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