Japan to Send LPG Shipment to Hard-Hit Regions

An upcoming propane shipment to the north of Japan seems destined for power generation. Though another distinctly Japanese use for the gas? The "teppanyaki" grill, seen above in Kyoto. (image: MarkandLina via flickr.com)

Today, the Japanese national oil company (JOGMEC) announced it would send 461,000 barrels of propane from a national storage site to the hard-hit north of the country. The shipment, which comes on the orders of the trade ministry, is set for Monday, according to the news service Reuters. (UPDATE: Due to some bad math, the number of barrels was previously wrong. And is now right.)

The LPG will supplement fuel needs in the north, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11. And though it was unclear who would receive the propane, it would appear the gas is destined for power generation.

To help cover the gap in nuclear power, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has been securing supplies of LPG for gas-fueled power since the week after the quake, according to the energy news site Platts. Though the utility’s consumption of propane hinges on how much natural gas it uses. And most of Japan’s natural gas import stations are reportedly operating normally.

Friday’s announcement follows a report earlier in the week that the destruction in two northern prefectures would cut total LPG demand for the year — by 3-percent, according to an industry estimate. Though an uptick in TEPCO purchases was expected to offset the decline in residential demands.