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Energy supply security: Japan

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


  • Oil accounted for 46% of Japan’s total primary energy supply in 2012.
  • In 2012, 4.8 million bpd of oil was imported.
  • Approximately 83% of Japan’s crude oil imports came from the Middle East in 2012.
  • Japan has 27 operational refineries with a total crude distillation capacity of approximately 4.5 million bpd.
  • The 90 day stockholding obligation is met by holding government emergency stocks and placing a minimum stock obligation on industry.
  • At the end of April 2013, Japan held 596 million bbls of oil stocks.
  • Natural gas supply sources to the country are well diversified.
  • Japan imports gas through 31 LNG terminals with approximately 10 billion m3 of storage capacity.


  • Japan produced 17 000 bpd of crude oil in 2012, equivalent to 0.3% of consumption.
  • Demand for oil products decreased from 2003 – 2012.
  • Refining and distribution of oil products are fully privatised and open to foreign capital companies.
  • At the end of March 2012, storage capacity in Japan was estimated at over 900 million bbls.
  • The Petroleum Refining and Reserve Division of the Natural Resources and Fuel Department acts as a secretariat and forms the core of the Japanese National Emergency Strategy Organisation (NESO) during oil supply disruptions, in cooperation with other relevant parties.
  • The government has implemented changes for improvements following the regional shortages of oil products caused by the 2011 earthquake.
  • Japan has a bilateral agreement with New Zealand that allows it to hold stocks on New Zealand’s behalf.
  • Public crude oil stocks are widely dispersed at 10 bases and 16 private terminals.
  • In the case of failure to comply with compulsory stockholding obligations, companies can be sentenced to up to one year in prison or fines up to US$ 32 000.
  • Demand restraint is considered as a secondary emergency response measure.
  • Short term fuel switching from oil to other fuels is not regarded as an emergency response measure.


  • In 2012, domestic production of natural gas was 3.3 billion m3.
  • Natural gas production was equivalent to 3% of domestic demand.
  • Japan’s demand for natural gas has steadily increased since 1980.
  • In order to compensate for nuclear outages, natural gas use in power generation increased from 27% in 2010 to 41% in 2012.
  • Australia was the biggest supplier of natural gas to Japan in 2012.
  • Japan has 31 operating receiving LNG terminals with storage capacity of over 16 million m3.
  • Storage capacity meets close to 30 days of domestic natural gas consumption.
  • No legal obligations for industry to hold emergency stocks in the form of natural gas, LNG or alternative fuels are in place.

Adapted by Claira Lloyd

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