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Japan's 2021 LNG imports slip, gives up world's top buyer spot to China

Japan's imports of LNG fell 0.2% in 2021 to 74.32 MM tons, giving up the world's largest buyer spot to China which increased its imports of the super-chilled fuel by 18% to a record high.

Japan's imports of the fuel dropped for a fourth straight year to the lowest since 2010, the year before the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which sent gas purchases soaring as reactors were shut down, preliminary data released by the finance ministry showed.

China's imports of LNG for the whole last year totaled a record 78.93 MM tons, according to the customs data.

Japan's imports of crude oil fell for a ninth straight year in 2021 to the lowest in more than 50 years amid a shrinking, aging population that consumes less fuel because of more efficient vehicles and a turn to gasoline-electric hybrids. 

Crude imports into Japan dropped 1.2% in 2021 to 2.5 MMbpd (144.31 MM kiloliters for the year). 

That was the lowest since 1968, according to an official at the Petroleum Association of Japan.

Meanwhile, imports of thermal coal rose last year after three years of declines as the country continues rolling out new power stations burning the dirty fossil fuel.

Coal imports climbed 7.7% in 2021 to 112.9 MM tons despite of higher installation of renewable power.

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The gas processing/LNG sector is investing in new technologies to mitigate carbon emissions from both operations and its supply chain.
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