Aftermath of Fukushima Now Reshaping Natural Gas Markets


By  Kris FitzPatrick, Staff Editor

The impacts of Japan moving rapidly away from nuclear power after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster are now being felt globally. As the Wall Street Journal explains in video and written form this past week (subscription required for written), Japan is the world’s third largest economy and relied on nuclear power for roughly a third of its electricity in 2010. Suddenly, most of that nuclear power is offline and may not return any time soon, given Japanese domestic opposition.

To make up for the loss, Japan is hurriedly attempting to secure natural gas to fire its alternate power plants. Japan is investing in increased Australian gas production and aggressively seeking liquid natural gas (LNG) imports. This sudden increase in demand coincides with exploding natural gas production in the U.S. and a growing call for the U.S. to begin exporting its new glut of gas. And with European and Asian natural gas prices as much as six times higher than those in the U.S., look for domestic gas producers to continue this export push.

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