Factbox: North Asia braces for peak winter energy demand season

Nov 3 (Reuters) – Major North Asian economies are stockpiling fuel, diversifying sources and conserving energy to ensure adequate supplies for winter as an unprecedented global energy crisis makes natural gas purchases expensive liquid (LNG) on site. Read more

Here are some actions that countries have taken:

JAPAN

* Japan stockpiled more LNG than usual, with stocks at major utilities at 2.5 million tonnes as of October 30, according to a ministry survey, 36% above the five-year average of 1, 84 million tons for the period.

* The city’s gas suppliers held 2.54 million tonnes at the end of August, ministry data showed, up from 1.97 million tonnes a year earlier and also above a five-year average.

* A group of power grid companies launched an auction in mid-October for a supply volume of up to 2.2 terawatt hours, or the equivalent of four LNG carriers, to be supplied over the winter.

* Japan will allow state resource company Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) to purchase LNG on behalf of utilities when supply from private companies becomes difficult.

* Japan is set to ask households and businesses to save electricity from December to March. Users will be asked to turn off unnecessary lighting, wear layered clothing indoors, and lower heating temperatures.

* Japan will also change a law to allow the government to order large city gas users to restrict their consumption when shortages are likely to impact the economy and livelihoods.

* Japan has signed agreements with Malaysia’s Petronas and the Singapore government to enhance bilateral LNG cooperation.

SOUTH KOREA

* It got plenty of gas through long-term contracts and started buying on the spot market in September, earlier than usual in October-November, an industry ministry official said.

* South Korea’s LNG stocks stood at nearly 3.9 million tonnes at the end of September, a source familiar with the matter said.

* The country has campaigned to reduce energy consumption by 10% this winter. State institutions are mandated to cap the internal temperature of buildings at 17 degrees Celsius and turn off lights during the day, a government announcement revealed in September.

* Households and businesses are encouraged to reduce their energy consumption through incentives such as tax cuts, although details have not been announced.

CHINA

* China is expected to stay away from spot LNG purchases this winter due to rising prices and slow demand growth amid COVID-19 restrictions. It pumped more gas domestically and secured more Russian supplies, pipeline and LNG shipments.

* China approved more coal projects after unprecedented power shortages crippled large parts of the economy last year.

* In the first half of 2022, China approved 15 gigawatts of new coal-fired power capacity and added an additional 2.28 GW of nuclear capacity.

Reporting by Emily Chow in Singapore, Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo and Joyce Lee in Seoul; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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Carol N. Valencia