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BMI View: While it will continue to remain a global refining powerhouse,
aggressive cutbacks in refining capacity and a gradual shift away from oil-based
fuels will weigh on Japan's refined fuels exports in the long run. Japan will
remain the largest LNG buyer in the world through to 2025, though the risk of an
LNG oversupply domestically is pertinent due to the rise of alternative energy
sources such as nuclear, coal and renewables energy, which will erode gas' share
in the total power mix and drag on overall demand.
Latest Updates And Key Forecasts
-Despite boasting world-class capability, the Japanese refining sector is
vulnerable to further consolidation and capacity cuts as the government seeks to
reduce overcapacity and improve the sector's efficiency. Mergers of the
country's largest refiners are imminent, with JX Holdings and TonenGeneral
expected to merge by April 2017, while Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell are set to
follow likewise between October 2016 and April 2017.
-Difficulties with restarting Japan's currently shut nuclear reactors will see
the country increasingly rely on coal and renewables energy, eroding LNG share
in the total power mix. In July 2016, the Otsu district court rejected Kansai
Electric's rejection of a March injunction which ordered the firm to shut down
its No.3 and No.4 nuclear reactors at its Takahama plant.
-The Japanese Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an investigation to
determine whether destination clauses contained within existing long-term LNG
contracts with international suppliers violate domestic competition laws. If
found so, it could see Japan step-up efforts to renegotiate existing contract
-Japan will remain a major exporter of various light-to-middle distillates
throughout our forecast period to 2025, though large import requirement for LPG
and petrochemicals will see it remain a net importer of refined fuels.