On Aug. 27, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided to monitor power companies’ backlog and surplus of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The companies will report to the ministry the status of their inventory and offer a forecast so that METI will be able to call on them to procure more fuel before supply runs short. Such a monitoring mechanism has never been created because the decision about whether to procure LNG is left to the discretion of each utility. By introducing this system, the government hopes to ensure the nation is prepared for any energy shortages that may arise in the winter.
The subcommittee on basic policy on electricity and gas under METI’s Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy met on Aug. 27 and presented draft guidelines on LNG and other fuels used to generate power. The draft was approved, and guidelines will be finalized by the end of September.
The draft stressed the need for a “mechanism to monitor fuel inventory nationwide as necessary” for the summer and winter, when electricity consumption surges. METI and the Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO) will monitor whether the nation can secure the necessary energy supply based on LNG inventory information provided by utilities. When a tight supply-and-demand situation is predicted, they will call on utilities to procure additional resources. (Abridged)