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Japan Jan LNG imports fall 14% on year to 7.2 mil mt; Qatar, Nigeria volumes plunge

Tokyo — Japan's LNG imports slid 14.1% year on year to 7.2 million mt in January, with volumes from Qatar and Nigeria falling sharply, data released Friday by the Ministry of Finance showed.

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Imports from Qatar, the third largest LNG supplier for Japan in January, plunged 41.2% from a year earlier to 898,941 mt.

Australia and Malaysia came in first and second with supply from the former slipping 1.4% year on year to 1.6 million mt.

Malaysia sent 1.5 million mt, down 4.8% from a year ago.

Imports from Nigeria also dropped 57.7% from a year ago to 299,419 mt while no LNG shipments arrived from Europe and Equatorial Guinea.

The 3.7 million mt/year Equatorial Guinea LNG plant in the Gulf of Guinea was shut part of January due to scheduled maintenance.

Trinidad sent a 57,083 mt cargo that traded at $414.36/mt, or $7.969/MMBtu.

Platts trade flow software cFlow showed Methane Jane Elizabeth delivered a Trinidad cargo to Japan's Oita terminal, owned by Kyushu Electric, on December 29, which is likely reflected on the January imports data.

Japan had a warmer winter in December as well as part of January, which helped many utilities pile up their inventories and dent their demand for LNG.

The Japan Customs Cleared crude oil price was at $37.007/b in January, down 41.9% from a year earlier and down 14.9% from December.

Some of Japan's long-term LNG contracts are linked to the JCC crude price but with a lag of a few months, so fluctuations in oil prices typically take some time to be reflected in LNG prices.

--Eriko Amaha,
--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy,