Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Desperate times call for inventive measures in Japanese crude buying

Huge inventory losses brought on by the plunge in oil prices in the second half of last year prompted Japanese refiners, desperate to eke out margins, to switch away from some of their staple heavy crude imports from the Middle East in favor of spot barrels from Russia and even far-away Mexico.

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Petrodollars: Changing regulations, falling prices move Asian oil markets

In this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars, Song Yen Ling examines the effects of low oil prices on various markets in Asia, ranging from the massive consumption center of China to the rapidly increasing appetite of Indonesia.

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Tata Steel’s possible divestment prompts re-evaluation of Britain’s role in global industry

Tata Steel’s potential sale of its long products division to American Gary Klesch has galvanized UK politicians.

In an opposition day debate in the House of Commons on January 14, Ian Wright, the shadow secretary for business, innovation and skills, said Tata’s decision to quit the longs market did not mean the UK should.

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The crude price plunge and LNG, a tenuous link

Over the last several months there has been much discussion about the impact of falling crude oil prices on the liquefied natural gas market. The conventional argument goes something like this: lower crude prices are making oil-linked LNG contracts cheaper and are putting pressure on the spot market as these contracts increasingly undercut spot prices.

At first glance, this argument appears quite compelling. On January 14, 2015, the price of Platts-assessed Dated Brent was $45.73/b. For buyers using 14.5% slope to crude, not uncommon in the Asia-Pacific market, that would equate to an LNG price of just $6.63/MMBtu. By comparison, the Platts JKM price (a spot index for the Asian LNG market) was assessed significantly higher at $9.38/MMBtu on the same day.

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Japan’s crude oil storage leases with producers: scope to do more with strategic stocks

Japan’s recent deal with Abu Dhabi to lease out more crude storage capacity to the emirate under a renewal agreement is deemed mutually beneficial. Not only will it enhance Tokyo’s supply security, but it also wiill give the Middle Eastern producer greater access to the Asia-Pacific market.

Under the agreement, similar to one Japan has with Saudi Arabia, the Japanese government will pay for storage to be used by Abu Dhabi for commercial purposes, in exchange for assigning priority to supplying the crude to Japan in an emergency.

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Regulation and Environment: Japan’s oil refinining business adjusts to new rules

Japanese government regulation of Japan’s oil refining industry is detailed and proscriptive. Takeo Kumagai, in this week’s Oilgram News column Regulation & Environment, reviews the most recent round of new rules and how it will affect the business.

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The same and yet different paths of Japan and Australia’s oil product imports

Japan and Australia are increasingly importing more oil products as a result of a series of refinery closures in their respective countries.

On the surface, the consequences of the drop in refining capacity in the two countries look similar in the short term. But fundamentally, the two nations are taking different routes for energy security.

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India’s gas pricing dilemma: A ‘Modi’cum of liberalization?

The new Narendra Modi government in New Delhi prolonged the suspense this week over what tack it will take on the controversial domestic gas pricing issue.

It had been expected to signal which way it is inclined ahead of a September 30 deadline to announce its final decision on gas prices.

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Regional price spreads: predicting the future of LNG

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated a large portion of Japan’s eastern coastline killing nearly 16,000 people and causing infrastructure damage estimated at more than $225 billion. The consequent nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Power Plant ultimately resulted in the closure of all of Japan’s nearly 50 nuclear reactors.

In a move to compensate for lost electric generation capacity, Japanese imports of LNG jumped nearly 23% to 86.7 million mt during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, up from imports that totaled 70.6 million mt during the fiscal year just prior to the disaster.

The precipitous jump in demand for LNG from post-Fukushima Japan changed the global gas market irrevocably. Since March 2011, spot Asian gas prices have averaged roughly $15.65/MMBtu compared to prices that trended around $7.00/MMBtu during the two-year period from 2009-2011.

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Japan enters a new stage of shale oil drilling

At 10:50 am on May 23, a drilling pipe was gradually and quietly spinning downward and reaching a depth of around 25 meters when I got on the platform of a 50-meter high drilling rig in search of shale oil.

The scene like this may not be too unusual in Texas but this was happening in Akita, about 600 km north of Tokyo. That’s where Japan Petroleum Exploration started its horizontal drilling project just 80 minutes prior to my arrival on the platform.

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