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Japan's oil use may fall 33% by 2030: ministry

[TOKYO] Japan's oil use is likely to fall by 33 per cent by around 2030 to about 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) as Tokyo pushes for a return of nuclear power, suspended after the Fukushima disaster, and boosts renewable use, an industry ministry projection shows.

The decline translates into an annual contraction of 1.9 per cent in oil consumption. Even after falling by a third, oil will remain the biggest component of Japan's primary energy supply at 30 per cent in the year starting April 2030, down from 40 per cent in the year through March 2014.

Japan is the world's fourth-biggest importer of oil. Its use peaked at 4.24 million bpd in the year ended March 2000.

In April, Japan imported 3.35 million bpd, mostly from the Middle East, according to industry ministry data. It produced about 11,500 bpd of its own oil in the year ended March 2014.

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The forecast for oil and other primary energy supplies was included in reference material for optimum power mix proposals for 2030 adopted on Monday.

A Japanese consultative committee stuck to a controversial government plan for atomic energy to generate 20-22 per cent of the country's electricity by 2030, while doubling the share of renewable power output.

The committee projected that oil would account for only 3 per cent of total power generation in 2030, down from 13.7 per cent in 2013.

Japan has been burning record amounts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal to compensate for the shutdown of nuclear power generation following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

By increasing power generation from nuclear and renewable energy, Japan's self-sufficiency ratio could be raised to 25 per cent in 2030 from just 6 per cent, the ministry said. Japan considers nuclear power a domestic energy source even though it imports all uranium fuel.

In April the industry ministry projected an average 1.4 per cent annual decline in oil demand excluding power generation through April 2020 as the population declines and consumers switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles and equipment.


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