S.Korea's January LNG imports drop 41 pct yr/yr
Thursday, 16 February 2012 | 00:00
South Korea's imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fell 41 percent in January from a year earlier after building inventory via robust imports last December for winter demand, customs data showed on Wednesday.
The world's second-largest LNG buyer after Japan imported 2.89 million tonnes of LNG last month, compared with 4.93 million tonnes a year earlier, Korea Customs Service data showed.
"The drop in January's imports follows higher imports in December, while demand was slightly weaker than expected," a government source told Reuters by phone.
LNG imports in December rose 46.6 percent to 4.81 million tonnes, from 3.28 million tonnes a year earlier, due to inventory building.
The country's current LNG inventory is at more than 60 percent of storage capacity of 3.8 million tonnes, down from 80 percent of capacity as of mid-January but "slightly higher than usual levels seen at this time of a year," according to the government source. The source was not authorised to talk to the media and declined to be identified.
Domestic gas sales declined year on year, mainly led by nationwide campaigns to reduce power consumption and manage demand and supply during the peak winter season to avert unexpected power outages seen last September.
State-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) showed on Friday that it sold 4.28 million tonnes of LNG in January, down 12.5 percent from a year earlier. The amount was equivalent to 189.46 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
KOGAS said on Monday that it would import 36.46 million tonnes of LNG this year, equivalent to 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and slightly lower than last year's imports of 36.72 million tonnes, according to customs data.
South Korea's January coal imports rose 4 percent to 10.71 million tonnes from 10.32 million tonnes a year earlier, customs data showed.
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