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Spewing clouds of smoke, ash and steam thousands of feet into the sky, these dramatic images and videoA  (below) show the raw power of an undersea volcano erupting.The spectacular columns blasted out of the South Pacific yesterday six miles off the coast of Tonga's main island Tongatapu. Wednesday, two days after it is believed to have begun'It's a very significant eruption, on quite a large scale,' said Keleti Mafi, head of the country's geological service.
Home loans and solar power - March 17, 2015 Bangladesh wants to become the world’s first “solar nation” by 2021 - January 29, 2015 India Gets Obama’s Backing for $160 Billion Solar Push - January 27, 2015 Solar panels on top of canal impress U.N. MIT, Stanford researchers develop new kind of tandem solar cell - March 27, 2015 Researchers use nanotechnology to increase solar power efficiency - February 6, 2015 New family of light-converting materials points to cheaper, more efficient solar power and LEDs - January 30, 2015 Graphene Could Double Electricity Generated From Solar - January 28, 2015 Laser processing technology enhances the ability of solar cells to harvest more sunlight - January 22, 2015View all The bright side of California’s drought: More solar power - April 15, 2015 There’s an emerging right-wing divide on climate denial. For the past eleven years, I have been an Aeronautical Engineer for FlightSafety International . On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sendai, Japan, triggering a large tsunami. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear incident, Japan's energy fuel mix likely will change as natural gas, oil, and renewable energy take larger slices of the market share and supplant some of the nuclear fuel. Japan has very limited domestic oil reserves, amounting to 44 million barrels as of January 2012, according to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), down from the 58 million barrels reported by OGJ in 2007. The Japanese government's policy has emphasized increased energy conservation and efficiency. Although Japan is a minor oil producing country, it has a robust oil sector comprised of various state-run, private, and foreign companies.
Private Japanese firms dominate the country's large and competitive downstream sector, as foreign companies have historically faced regulatory restrictions.
Japanese oil companies have sought participation in exploration and production projects overseas with government backing because of the country's lack of domestic oil resources. Japan reduced imports from Iran during 2011 in light of current and impending US and EU sanctions against Iran, and Japanese refiners are seeking replacements from other Middle Eastern suppliers. Also, Japan is currently looking towards Russia, Southeast Asia, and Africa to geographically diversify its oil imports. For a consumer of its size, Japan has a relatively limited domestic pipeline transmission system. Russia's Transneft, backed by the Russian government, is building the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), a 2,900 mile pipeline from Taishet, Siberia to Nakhodka on the Pacific Ocean, to export Russian oil to the energy hubs of the Asia-Pacific region. The Japanese government is seeking to promote operational efficiency, and in 2010, METI announced an ordinance that would raise the cracking to crude distillation capacity ratio that refiners had to meet by March 2014 from 10 percent to 13 percent or higher. Japan relies on LNG imports for virtually all of its natural gas demand and is the world's largest LNG importer. According to OGJ, Japan had 738 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of proven natural gas reserves as of January 2012.
Inpex and other companies created from the former Japan National Oil Company are the primary actors in Japan's domestic natural gas sector, as in the oil sector. Although Japan is a large natural gas consumer, it has a relatively limited domestic natural gas pipeline transmission system for a consumer of its size. Japanese companies are using innovative methods to produce hydrocarbons and discovered methane hydrates off the country's east coast.
Because of its limited natural gas resources, Japan must rely on imports to meet its natural gas needs.
Several factors favor the use of LNG over other fossil fuels and other sources to replace nuclear energy after the 2011 earthquake.
After the Fukushima incident, Japan is replacing lost nuclear capacity with more short-term and spot cargo LNG which made up about 20 percent of total LNG imports in 2011. Most of Japan's LNG imports originate from regional suppliers in Southeast Asia, although the country has a fairly balanced portfolio with no one supplier having a market share greater than roughly 20 percent.
Japan began importing LNG from Russia's Sakhalin terminal in 2009, and the two countries are discussing ways to increase gas imports to Japan via a proposed pipeline or more LNG shipments. Japanese regulations permit individual utilities and natural gas distribution companies to sign LNG supply contracts with foreign sources, in addition to directly importing spot cargoes. The power sector is the largest consumer of LNG, holding a 66 percent market share in 2011, according to FACTS Global Energy. Japanese companies have actively sought participation in natural gas exploration and production projects abroad. Japan was the world's third largest producer of nuclear power after the US and France before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011. Japan had 282 gigawatts (GW) of total installed electricity generating capacity, the third largest in the world behind the United States and China, in 2010. Although Japan accounts for the most electricity consumption in OECD Asia, it has one of the lowest electricity demand growth rates in the region, projected at an average of 0.7 percent from 2007 through 2018 by the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan. The Japanese government and electric utilities have taken several steps to ensure power supply meets demand following the Fukushima crisis.
The Japanese government, under the new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, began to officially discuss the new energy policy in October of 2011, to address safety measures and the future of nuclear energy following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and revise the Basic Energy Plan created in 2010. Current policy is that nuclear power plants can be effectively used, contingent on effective regulations imposed for safety measures. Japan's electricity industry is dominated by 10 privately-owned, integrated power companies that act as regional monopolies, accounting for about 85 percent of the country's total installed generating capacity. Other significant operators in the electricity market are the Japan Atomic Power Company, the first Japanese company to build a nuclear reactor in 1960, which operates four nuclear power plants with 2.6 GW total and sells electricity to the local power companies, and the Electric Power Development Company (J-Power), formerly a state-owned enterprise that was privatized in 2004. Japan had about 182 GW of installed conventional thermal electric generating capacity in 2009 and electricity generation was 637 TWh in 2010. Coal, typically used as a base load source for power generation, remains an important fuel source and accounted for 43 percent of fossil fuel-fired generation in 2011, according to the International Energy Agency. The number of natural gas-fired power stations is increasing in Japan, and roughly 26 percent of electricity was natural gas-fired in 2010. Before the 2011 earthquake, Japanese utilities began removing oil-fired generation capacity due to higher operational costs. Japanese electric utilities are burning more fuel oil and direct crude to make up for lost nuclear generation. Before the Fukushima accident, Japan ranked as the third-largest nuclear power generator in the world behind the United States and France. Following the Fukushima accident, the Japanese government required facilities to pass two phases of stress tests issued by the Nuclear Industrial Safety Authority (NISA) as well as local government approval.
Over 10 GW of nuclear capacity at the Fukushima, Onagawa, and Tokai facilities ceased operations immediately following the earthquake and tsunami, and some of the reactors are permanently damaged from emergency seawater pumping efforts and not scheduled to be brought back online. Japan currently has 50 nuclear reactors with a total installed generating capacity of 46 GW, down from 54 reactors with 49 GW of capacity in 2010. Japan has a full fuel cycle setup, including enrichment and reprocessing of used fuel for recycling.
Japan had installed hydroelectric generating capacity of 48 GW in 2009, accounting for about 16 percent of total electricity capacity. As part of the revised energy policy plan, Japan is trying to encourage a greater use of renewable energy, from sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass, for power generation. Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest crude oil reserves. With high economic growth rates and over 15 percent of the world’s population, India is a significant consumer of energy resources. Amazon Oil climbed above $100 a barrel in New York to a five-month high as Enbridge Inc.
Geological Survey says that a 7.9 earthquake has struck near Tonga, prompting a tsunami warning for adjacent islands in the South Pacific.
Unlikely, Analysts Say - April 16, 2015 Elon Musk’s Cousins Battle Utilities to Make Solar Rooftops Cheap - April 15, 2015View all What yieldco finance can do for the solar industry - April 21, 2015 Corporate solar funding comes in at USD 6.4 billion in Q1 - April 14, 2015 Solarize South Carolina Campaign Aims to Rev Up SC’s Home Solar Industry - March 20, 2015 Residential Solar Financier Sunnova Offers New Loan-Like Product - March 18, 2015 When going solar, should you lease or buy? Here’s what it means (and doesn’t) - April 9, 2015 Why FEMA Wants Your State to Stop Ignoring Climate Change - April 2, 2015 The endless debate of trees vs. It is the third largest oil consumer in the world behind the United States and China and the third-largest net importer of crude oil. The earthquake and ensuing damage resulted in an immediate shutdown of 12,000 MW of electric generating capacity at four nuclear power stations. Oil is the largest energy resource of fuel consumption in Japan, although its share of total energy consumption has declined from about 80 percent in the 1970s to 42 percent in 2010. Japan's domestic oil reserves are concentrated primarily along the country's western coastline. The government generally aims to reduce the share of oil consumed in its primary energy mix as well as the share of oil used in the transportation sector. Until 2004, Japan's oil sector was dominated by the Japan National Oil Corporation (JNOC), which was formed by the Japanese government in 1967 and charged with promoting oil exploration and production domestically and overseas.
But over the last several years, these regulations have been eased, which has led to increased competition in the petroleum-refining sector.
The vast majority of Japan's oil production comes in the form of refinery gain, resulting from the country's large petroleum refining sector. The government's 2006 energy strategy plan encourages Japanese companies to increase energy exploration and development projects around the world to secure a stable supply of oil and natural gas.
It is also involved in exploration and development of four licensed blocks west of the Shetland Islands. Additionally, Nippon Oil has a 25 percent stake in the NW Shelf Mutineer and Exeter fields. Idemitsu, Nippon Oil and Teikoku Oil, hold interests in two other Vietnamese offshore fields currently under exploration. After the Fukushima incident, Japan has been increasing imports of crude oil for direct burn in power plants.

As of mid-2011, Japan is substituting some of the lost nuclear fuel for power with low sulfur, heavy crudes for direct burn in power plants from sources in West Africa (Gabon) and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia). Crude oil and petroleum products are delivered to consumers mainly by coastal tankers and tank trucks, as well as railroad tankers and pipelines. This ordinance is intended to increase refinery competitiveness within the country and will likely lead to refinery closures if implemented. However, the country ramped up imports of refined products, particularly low sulfur fuel oil, in order to offset shortfalls in fuel supply for power generation until refineries were restored. Natural gas proven reserves have declined since 2007, when they measured 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). Inpex, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and various other Japanese companies are actively involved in domestic as well as overseas natural gas exploration and production.
This is partly due to geographical constraints posed by the country's mountainous terrain, but it is also the result of previous regulations that limited investment in the sector. Japan's largest natural gas field is the Minami-Nagaoka on the western coast of Honshu, which produces about 40 percent of Japan's domestic gas.
Japan estimates about 40 Tcf of methane hydrates may exist and hopes to begin production by 2018. Japan began importing LNG from Alaska in 1969, making it a pioneer in the global LNG trade.
As a result of the March 2011 earthquake, Japan's LNG imports rose 12 percent in 2011 to 3.8 Tcf, according to some industry sources.
The majority of LNG terminals is located in the main population centers of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, near major urban and manufacturing hubs, and is owned by local power companies, either alone or in partnership with gas companies.
Current government carbon-abatement policies and the government's pledge to lower GHG emissions support natural gas as the cleanest fossil fuel to replace capacity. Most of Japan's LNG import infrastructure was not damaged by the earthquake since a majority of these facilities are located in the south and west of the country, away from the earthquake's epicenter. Additional supplies to Japan could stem from other new projects in Papua New Guinea or North America in the long term. The largest LNG supply agreements are held by Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Toho Gas, Chubu Electric and TEPCO, primarily with countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. City gas demand makes up the remaining 34 percent of the gas market and consists primarily of industrial, residential and commercial sectors. In 2008, Inpex announced that it made a new natural gas discovery in the Mimia-1 well, WA-344-P block. However, after the damage to facilities by the March 2011 earthquake, IHS Global Insight estimates capacity fell to around 243 GW in mid-2011. The damage to homes and industries by the earthquake and energy conservation efforts lowered power demand by 4.7 percent in 2011. Some of these measures for thermal power stations include restoring some of the disaster-affected plants, relaxed regulations on inspections of the stations, and restarting mothballed oil-fueled stations. The 2010 Energy Plan calls for at least 12 new nuclear reactors to be constructed by 2020 and the nuclear share of the electricity sector to increase to over a 50-percent share by 2030 as the country attempts to reduce GHG emissions. It favors bringing back online some reactors suspended for maintenance, inspection and installation of safety measures in 2012, though aged reactors should be decommissioned.
According to Japan Electric Power Information Center, there are currently 61 major thermal power plants, and 6 more are under construction: 3 using LNG and 3 using coal for generation. Domestic coal production came to an end in 2002 and Japan imported 207 million short tons in 2010, mainly from Australia. LNG accounted for 43 percent of the fossil fuel mix in 2011, rising from 37 percent in 2010. Unlike the more constricted capacity at gas-fired facilities, capacity utilization at oil-fired facilities is less than 50 percent. However, the country has gradually lost all of its nuclear generation capacity as its facilities have been removed from service due to earthquake damage or for regular maintenance. The government officially decommissioned four reactors with a capacity of 3 GW at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in April 2012. Japan has promoted nuclear electricity over the years as a means of diversifying its energy sources and reducing carbon emissions, emphasizing safety and reliability. About half of this capacity is pumped storage with another 5 GW scheduled to come online by 2020.
Non-nuclear renewable energy made up about 4 percent of Japan's total energy consumption and about 2 percent of the country's electricity generation in 2010. The USGS says that the quake struck about 130 miles (200 kilometers) south-southeast of the Tongan capital of Nuku'Alofa at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).
It is the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and second largest importer of coal.
Other energy infrastructure such as electrical grid, refineries, and gas and oil-fired power plants were also affected by the earthquake, though some of these facilities were restored. Coal continues to account for a significant share of total energy consumption, although natural gas is increasingly important as a fuel source and is currently the preferred fuel-of-choice for the shortfall in nuclear capacity. Offshore areas surrounding Japan, such as the East China Sea, also contain oil and gas deposits; however, development of these zones is held up by competing territorial claims with China. Total strategic oil stocks in Japan were 589 million barrels at the end of December 2011, with 55 percent being government stocks and 45 percent commercial stocks.
This decline stems from structural factors, such as fuel substitution, an aging population, and government-mandated energy efficiency targets. Oil as a percentage of total primary energy demand has fallen from roughly 80 percent of the energy mix in the 1970s to about 42 percent in 2010, made possible by increased energy efficiency and the expanded use of nuclear power and natural gas.
In 2004, JNOC's profitable business units were spun off into new companies in order to introduce greater competition into Japan's energy sector. Chevron, BP, Shell, and BHP Billiton are among the foreign energy companies involved in providing products and services to the Japanese market as well as being joint venture (JV) partners in many of Japan's overseas projects.
Japan has 148 producing oil wells in over 11 fields, according to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ).
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation supports upstream companies by offering loans at favorable rates, thereby allowing Japanese companies to bid effectively for projects in key producing countries.
Many of these companies are involved in small-scale projects that were originally set up by JNOC. Additionally, Nippon Oil and JOGMEC in JV own a 17 percent stake, currently under exploration and development, in the Berau Block integrated area. The country is primarily dependent on the Middle East for its crude oil imports, as roughly 87 percent of Japanese crude oil imports originate from the region, up from 70 percent in the mid-1980s. In recent years, the refining sector in Japan has been characterized by overcapacity since domestic petroleum product consumption has declined due to the contraction in industrial output and the decline in transportation fuel demand because of mandatory blending with ethanol.
Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas, and Toho Gas are Japan's largest retail natural gas companies, with a combined share of about 75 percent of the retail market. Reforms enacted in 1995 and 1999 helped open the sector to greater competition and a number of new private companies have entered the industry since the reforms. Due to environmental concerns, the Japanese government has encouraged natural gas consumption in the country.
IHS CERA estimated that total natural gas imports increased by a monthly average of 18 percent annually from April 2011 through February 2012 compared with the pre-earthquake increases of 4 percent year-on-year between January and March 2011.
Also, gas remains cheaper than oil in contrast to the aftermath of the last major earthquake in 2007, after which fuel oil made the biggest gains from incremental demand. The Shinminato LNG terminal, owned by Sendai Gas, was the only plant closed in March 2011, though the facility was brought back online as of December 2011.
After the March 2011 disaster, several suppliers from Qatar, Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia exported cargoes to Japan through swaps and diverted cargoes. Reportedly, Japan is negotiating with US exporters for additional supply, though negotiations depend on approval of export licenses by the US and the ability of the Japanese infrastructure to accept gas that is leaner in calorific value. Many of Japan's existing LNG contracts date from the 1970s and 1980s, and are set to expire over the next decade forcing Japan to renegotiate term contracts or locate shorter term supply.
TEPCO is the largest electric utility and gas importer, holding 44 percent of the power generation market. In June 2008, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and a consortium of international commercial banks pledged $5.3 billion in project financing. Most of the natural gas is sent to Indonesia's Bontang liquefaction plant before being shipped to Japan. From the 1 Terawatt hour (TWh) of electric power that Japan generated in 2010, 63 percent of which came from conventional thermal fuels, 27 percent from nuclear sources, 7 percent from hydroelectric sources, and 3 percent from other renewable sources. In 2010, total generation was over 1 Terawatt-hour and has remained at about the same level for over a decade. Also, the government promoted power restraints for consumers in the disaster-affected areas throughout 2011, invoking a 15- percent power reduction on all consumer groups.
However, the Fukushima catastrophe created greater public concerns and revealed potential dangers of an aggressive nuclear policy. The largest power company is the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which accounts for 27 percent of total power generation in the country. It has also been involved in consulting services for electricity production and environmental protection in 63 countries, mainly in the developing world, since 1960.
The country's aging oil-fired power plants are used primarily as extra capacity to meet peak demand, and less than 10 percent of total electricity produced was oil-generated in 2010. However, new, clean coal technologies are being pursued in the power sector in efforts to meet environmental targets. Capacity utilization in gas-fired power facilities is close to 80 percent, so increasing LNG use in the short term is limited. Therefore, power generators have more room to increase burn of crude oil and fuel oil than natural gas in the short term. General maintenance standards in Japan require facilities to come offline every 13 months for inspections.

3 and 4, passed the stress tests and approvals by both NISA and the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), but the facilities must receive authorization by local government and the Prime Minister. Also, Japan recently reported that it would decommission any ageing reactors older than 40 years to improve safety. In its policy plans from 2010, the government intended to increase nuclear's share of total electricity generation from 24 percent in 2008 to 40 percent by 2017 and to 50 percent by 2030, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The World Nuclear Association reports there are currently two nuclear plants with 2.7 GW of capacity under construction and originally scheduled to be online by 2014. Like nuclear power, hydropower is a source for baseload generation in Japan because of the low generation costs and stable supply. The Japanese legislature approved an act, scheduled to be official in July 2012, compelling electric utilities to purchase electricity generated by renewable fuel sources, except for nuclear, at fixed feed-in tariff prices.
In light of the country's lack of sufficient domestic hydrocarbon resources, Japanese energy companies have actively pursued participation in upstream oil and natural gas projects overseas and provide engineering, construction, financial, and project management services for energy projects around the world. Between the 2011 earthquake and May 2012, Japan lost all of its nuclear capacity due to scheduled maintenance and the challenge facilities face in gaining government approvals to return to operation. Before the 2011 earthquake, Japan was the third largest consumer of nuclear power in the world, after the US and France, and nuclear power accounted for about 13 percent of total energy in 2010. In addition to the shift to natural gas in the industrial sector, fuel substitution is occurring in the residential sector as high prices have decreased demand for kerosene in home heating. Among the large developed world economies, Japan has one of the lowest energy intensities, as high levels of investment in R&D of energy technology since the 1970s has substantially increased energy efficiency.
Many of JNOC's activities were taken over by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), a state-run enterprise charged with aiding Japanese companies involved in exploration and production overseas and promoting commodity stockpiling domestically. Such financial support helps Japanese companies to purchase stakes in oil and gas fields around the world, reinforcing national supply security while guaranteeing their own financial stability. However, many are involved in high-profile upstream projects involving major investments in overseas ventures in recent years. Japanese retail gas and electric companies are participating directly in overseas upstream LNG projects to assure reliability of supply.
The gas produced is transported via an 808-mile pipeline network that stretches across the region surrounding the Tokyo metropolitan area. Japan is the world's largest LNG importer, holding about 33 percent of the global market in 2011. LNG consumption by the electric utilities rose by 20 percent annually to a record-high of 2.4 Tcf in 2011.
Destruction of coal-fired electric capacity was widespread in the area affected by the earthquake, allowing for gas to compete with coal on a cost-basis. Qatar, the world's largest supplier of flexible LNG, overtook Indonesia as the third largest supplier to Japan in 2011 and provided most of the additional imports needed after the earthquake under short-term agreements. Some industry analysts suggest that this is driving Japanese firms' interest in acquiring equity stakes in foreign liquefaction projects, in an effort to guarantee future supply. Tokyo Gas makes up over a third of the city gas share and is the second largest LNG importer. The companies are considering linking the development of the Mimia field to the adjacent Ichthys project. Inpex has a 20-year production contract through 2017 and is currently negotiating to extend it further.
According to the IEA, the share of thermal generation rose to 186 TWh or 73 percent of total generation in the first quarter of 2012, the highest on record as LNG and oil supplanted some nuclear power.
Power demand could drop again in 2012 depending on how quickly reconstruction efforts unfold and if nuclear power is renewed. The Energy and Environment Council concluded that the government would need to request voluntary power saving efforts of 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from end users of Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) and Kyushu Electric Power Company during the summer of 2012. Currently, experts on an advisory panel to the government are in disagreement over the amount of nuclear fuel mix with proposals ranging from zero to 35 percent by 2030.
These companies also control the country's regional transmission and distribution infrastructure. Coal and natural gas comprised 25 percent and 27 percent of total power supply, respectively. The government has plans to construct more gas-fired power generators, and currently, there are three proposed gas-fired power plants with 3.4 GW of capacity scheduled to come online by 2016.
Some utilities plan to bring back mothballed facilities to compensate for lost nuclear power. The last reactor went offline in May 2012, and for the first time in over 40 years, Japan has no nuclear generation.
Serious public concerns about bringing nuclear reactors back into operation may cause local governments to challenge any federal approval. However, the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant incident will likely shift Japan's focus on nuclear energy growth and affect the government's energy fuel mix targets. Hydroelectric generation was 73 TWh in 2010, making up about 7 percent of total net generation. The costs are to be shared by government subsidies and the end users, though details of the act, particularly the tariff price, are not entirely defined. Japan is one of the major exporters of energy-sector capital equipment, and has a strong energy research and development (R&D) program supported by the government, which pursues energy efficiency measures domestically in order to increase the country's energy security and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Japan is substituting the loss of nuclear fuel for the power sector with additional natural gas, low-sulfur crude oil, and fuel oil. Hydroelectric power and renewable energy comprise a relatively small percentage of total energy consumption in the country.
New companies were formed, of which the two largest are Inpex, now Japan's largest oil and gas company, and the Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (Japex). The government's goal is to import 40 percent of the country's total crude oil imports from Japanese-owned concessions by 2030, up from the current estimated 19 percent. Additionally, offshore UAE and Qatar, Mubarraz and 2 other fields are 100 percent owned by the consortium of Nippon Oil, Cosmo Oil, Tokyo Electric, Chubu Electric, and Kansai Electric. In addition to declining domestic demand, Japanese refiners now must compete with new state-of-the-art refineries in emerging Asian markets. Japanese utility companies signed agreements with QatarGas at the end of 2011 to secure longer term LNG supply.
The fuel portfolio for power generation is expected to shift as some nuclear facilities remain permanently offline after the Fukushima disaster. Also, the government requested that four western service areas with surplus capacity to cut electricity consumption by five percent in order to transfer power to the northeastern power areas with electricity deficits.
The revised energy policy is slated to take effect in the second half of 2012 and increase the role of LNG, oil, and renewable fuels following the government's assessment of energy security for the country's power sector. Japan's electricity policies are managed by the Agency for Natural Resources and Environment, part of METI. Several coal-fired plants experienced significant damage following the 2011 earthquake since they were located near Fukushima.
The lead-time on greenfield plants is about 7 to 10 years mainly due to environmental permitting.
In the first quarter of 2012 as nuclear capacity dwindled to zero, monthly demand growth for fuel oil and direct crude oil burn was over 3 times higher on an annual basis.
The average nuclear utilization rate dropped from 68 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2011.
Some industry sources predict Japan will resume operation of a few reactors by the end of summer 2012; however, Prime Minister Noda has delayed the approval of the facilities until stricter safety standards are drafted by the government. Below is a snapshot of Japan's key nuclear facilities including those affected by the 2011 earthquake. The Japanese government has been promoting small hydropower projects to serve local communities through subsidies and by simplifying procedures.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for neighboring islands, but it was not immediately known if a tsunami had been generated.
As a result of the 2011 earthquake and greater need for energy supplies, JOGMEC plans to increase spending more than $1.12 billion in the fiscal year 2012. Japex has been involved in locating new domestic reserves in the Niigata, Akita, and Hokkaido regions of Japan, targeting structures near existing oil and gas fields. Because of this factor, coal was not used as a substitute for nuclear power and actually experienced a negative growth in 2011. However, TEPCO and Tohoku Electric Power, utilities that suffered damage to their gas-fired plants in the earthquake zone, were temporarily exempted from these environmental requirements. Several factors ranging from public safety to energy security and economic impacts contribute to the debate on re-commissioning the facilities.
It also advises that some coastal areas of Hawaii could see a rise in sea level and strong currents lasting up to several hours. Demand for naphtha is falling as ethylene production is gradually being displaced by petrochemical production in other Asian countries. This is equivalent to nearly all of the company's upstream investments since its inception in 2004. Currently, private refiners in Japan are required to maintain petroleum product stocks equivalent to at least 70 days of consumption, which imposes large additional costs to these companies.
However, demand for low-sulfur fuel oil is increasing as it replaces nuclear electric power generation.

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