Oil demand in Japan may climb by about 200,000 barrels a day if the country makes up the shortfall in nuclear power with crude-fired generation, the International Energy Agency said.
Japan shut 11 atomic reactors totaling about 9.7 gigawatts of capacity [or some 20% of Japan’s total nuclear power generation capacity] after being struck on March 11 by its largest recorded earthquake. [For Japan's nuclear crisis, please see my posts here and here. -- D.R.]. The country has enough spare oil-fired plants to make up the loss, using only 30 percent of the crude generation units in 2009, the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report today.
Increasing the country’s natural gas-fired generation may also replace the lost nuclear plants, the agency said. Japan’s gas plants are currently running at only 55 percent of capacity.
“If the shortfall were met entirely by oil, consumption would increase by roughly 200,000 barrels a day on an annual basis,” the report said. “The generation of an extra 60 terawatt-hours using only gas would require plants to operate at near 70 percent of capacity, implying an additional 12 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas a year.” [Full story]