January 25, 2017 / 5:09 AM / 3 years ago

Gas usage hits record highs in Tokyo, Osaka as cold bites Japan

TOKYO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Gas usage in Japan, the world’s biggest importer of the fuel in liquid form, this week hit daily records in the cities of Tokyo and Osaka, with residents cranking up heating as a cold snap grips the country.

Japan’s biggest city gas supplier, Tokyo Gas, on Wednesday said gas usage in the capital reached just over 60 million cubic metres (2.1 billion cubic feet) the day before as average temperatures there fell as low as 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 degrees Fahrenheit). That eclipsed Friday’s record of 59.5 million cubic metres.

Osaka Gas, which serves Japan’s second-biggest metropolitan area, said gas usage marked a record 36.8 million cubic metres on Monday in the face of similar temperatures.

Gas, along with electricity, is typically used for heating in Japan’s main cities as they have pipe networks.

In more rural and other urban areas, kerosene is often used to warm buildings, with sales also climbing as temperatures drop and heavy snow falls in many places.

Kerosene sales rose nearly 6 percent to 550,000 barrels per day in the week to Jan 21 from a week earlier, Japan’s petroleum association said on Wednesday.

Temperatures fell to below -30 degrees Celsius on the northern island of Hokkaido, national broadcaster NHK said on Tuesday.

Japan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports dropped for a second year in a row to 83.34 million tonnes, the government said on Wednesday.

Prices for LNG spot cargoes for Japan rose for a third month to a 16-month high in December, gains that are attracting increasing supplies to Asia from as far away as the U.S. Gulf Coast. (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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