Bloomberg News

Japan Doubles Spot LNG Purchases in March; S. Korea Cuts Back

March 02, 2012

Japan, the world’s biggest buyer of liquefied natural gas, may double spot imports this month, according to ship-tracking data. South Korea’s imports may fall by half.

Japan, which boosted spot LNG purchases after last year’s earthquake and tsunami damaged nuclear power plants, may receive six cargoes in March, compared with three a year ago and seven last month, according to initial estimates from calculations based on transmissions from ships captured by AISLive on Bloomberg and data from the Ministry of Finance.

Japan, which got about 30 percent of its power from atomic stations before the quake, may have no reactors running by the end of next months after the worst radiation leaks since Chernobyl in the 1980s triggered safety checks.

Japan paid about $864 a metric ton for spot purchases in January, buying a record number of about 18 cargoes, according to calculations based on Japan’s customs data.

South Korea, the world’s second-biggest LNG buyer, may receive at least five spot cargoes in March, down from 10 a year earlier and six in February, shipping figures and data from the Korean International Trade Association website show.

The nation’s short-term and spot purchases rose by 20 percent to 6 million tons in 2011, according to the data from the Korean International website. Korea paid $752 a ton for immediate supplies, according TO customs data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dinakar Sethuraman in New Delhi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at

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