Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

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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Report from Fukushima: lots of cleanup to do, not enough workers to do it

The sudden arrival of a battered Toyota and its three occupants at our place last week underscores the problems Japanese construction steel producers face.

I’m back from a quick trip home. It’s in a once pristine corner of rural Fukushima, just outside the 20km exclusion zone around the crippled Daiichi nuclear plant. The back roads were busier this time, and more lights peeked from distant farm houses.

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Japan eyes new business opportunity from Fukushima experience

On a sunny morning last Sunday, a large group of people gathered in Tokyo in a park near the parliament and other government buildings to hear musicians stage performances powered only by solar energy. That was not, however, the main aim.

The people, numbering thousands according to media reports, were protesting against nuclear power plants in Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster triggered by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 three years ago.

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Mexico looks for new places to sell its oil

The first domino of what could be a new page in the shifting international crude market fell in late February when Cosmo Oil imported a cargo of Mexican crude to its refinery in Japan.

This seemingly insignificant transaction actually tells yet one more story in the larger tale about the changes in crude exports, especially for countries that once had a firm grasp on the US marketplace.

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Japan’s long-term LPG plans got a bit thrown off this winter

Two recent developments have led Japan to realize that US supplies of LPG may not always be cheaper than supplies from the Persian Gulf, or as available, throwing into some question a strategy to access more US-produced LPG in the future.

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Energy Economist: The burden that Japan is facing in its higher energy costs

Energy costs in Japan are reaching a critical point. The economy is growing too slowly to offset the burden of increased commodity energy imports. Renewables will add further costs. Bringing the country’s nuclear capacity back on-line appears to be the only option, but the process is proving slow. As it progresses, Japanese oil imports will fall, but LNG and coal usage in fiscal 2014 are still expected to reach historic highs. Ross McCracken looks at the issue in this month’s entry to The Barrel from Platts Energy Economist.

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Japan’s old but fresh debate on third-party access at its LNG terminals

Japan has opened a public debate for the first time in more than a decade about whether to have clearer rules about third -party access to LNG terminals.

But it remains unclear whether the world’s largest LNG importer expects there will even be such demand for the third-party access at the country’s 31 import terminals.

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Japan’s Iran crude imports stabilizing for now, gloomy weather ahead

After showing larger-than-usual fluctuations in monthly volumes during the second quarter of 2013, Japan’s crude imports from Iran look likely to stabilize for the next few months at least, as Tokyo seeks a further exemption from US sanctions in September.

So far Japanese buyers have been able to maintain their imports of Iranian crude, albeit at a significantly reduced rate, with ample supplies of alternative crudes, notably from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

But recent import data show unusually big swings in the amount of Iranian crude being imported into Japan, with volumes plummeting to just 7,549 b/d in April and then seeing a 32-fold rise the following month.

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US LNG exports to Japan moves one step closer to reality

The US Department of Energy approval on May 17 for the shipment of liquefied natural gas from the Freeport LNG project in Texas to countries that do not have free-trade agreements with the US will be recorded as a milestone in Japan.

While the project still needs separate approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Japan’s Chubu Electric and Osaka Gas could each get 2.2 million mt/year of US-sourced LNG under their natural gas liquefaction tolling agreement once Freeport gets the green light.

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The big Japan LNG import bill could get some help with the aid of the Henry Hub

A research note published last week by the Development Bank of Japan on the impact and implications for Japanese industries as a result of the US shale gas revolution was food for thought.

Particularly, the bank’s analysis on the impact on Japanese LNG procurement coming from possible LNG imports from the US was notable.

In the report, the DBJ said that Japan might be able to cut its LNG import costs by 7-15% of by 2020 if Japanese companies were able to take a large amount of LNG from planned US export projects, with the price tied to Henry Hub gas prices.

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