Massive quake, tsunami shut 22% of Japan's refining capacity

14 March 2011 10:32  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--About 22% of Japan’s refining capacity has been shut down by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern part of the country last Friday, industry sources said on Monday.

The natural disasters forced the shutdown of five refineries with combined capacities of at least 999,000 bbl/day.

These included JX Nippon Oil and Energy’s refineries in Sendai, Kashima and Negishi, as well as the Chiba refineries of Cosmo Oil and Kyokuto Petroleum.

A spokesperson from JX Nippon Oil and Energy said that the a fire was still burning at the storage tanks of the company’s 145,000 bbl/day Sendai refinery located in the hard-hit Miyagi prefecture on Monday.

For the two other refineries – the 189,000 bbl/day Kashima unit and the 270,000 bbl/day Negishi unit – no restart date has yet been set, he said.

Meanwhile, storage tanks at Cosmo Oil’s 220,000 bbl/day refinery in Chiba, were also still ablaze on Monday and the refinery remained shut down, said a company official.

Kyokuto Petroleum’s 175,000 bbl/day refinery at Ichihara in Chiba prefecture also remained shut down on Monday, a company source said.

Japan is the world’s third largest consumer and importer of oil, with the country’s oil demand in 2010 totalling some 4.42m bbl/day, around 5% of global demand, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Japan imports around 97% of its oil requirements due to limited domestic oil production and reserves.

The country’s total refining capacity stands at some 4.52m bbl/day, according to data from the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ).  In 2009 it accounted for some 5.1% of global refining capacity according data from BP.

Japan usually starts its refinery maintenance season in the second quarter of the year.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy’s 115,000 bbl/day refinery in Osaka was shut for a planned maintenance on 11 March and is expected to be back on line by mid-April, said a company official.

By: James Dennis
+65 6780 4359

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