Blog December 06, 2017

Genscape Vesseltracker recently added 21 new antennas across Japan. The expanded AIS coverage provides insight into the major imports and exports there by sharing a near-real time view of ship arrivals and departures.

Japan is the world’s largest purchaser of liquefied natural gas (LNG), so a large quantity of Japan’s imports consist of this commodity. In the first half of 2017, the country’s LNG imports increased by 2.24mn tons, or 5.5 percent, from a year earlier to 43.23mn tons, according to an IEEJ report.

The U.S. is an emerging supplier of LNG to Japan, with many cargoes coming from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass and the first export from Dominion’s new Cove Point liquefaction facility expected by the end of the year. As these imports continue to rise, Genscape Vesseltracker’s AIS data derived from the new antennas can be leveraged for a clear view into the entire LNG supply chain.

LNG Tankers Surrounding Japan

Since the U.S. Lower 48 began exporting LNG from Sabine Pass in February 2016, Genscape has seen a total of 14 cargos arrive into Japan. All of these imports took place this year, as Japan did not import any LNG from the U.S. in 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, there have been 10 different LNG vessels that have delivered LNG from the U.S. to seven different terminals (Figure 2 below) in Japan. The Futtsu and Sakai facilities have seen the most imports over this time period, with three cargos arriving to each. 

The “Stena Clear Sky”, “Maria Energy”, and “Creole Spirit” have completed two voyages each from Sabine to Japan so far, the most of any LNG vessels delivering U.S. LNG to Japan. In this most recent quarter-to-date, there have been two exports to Japan. Genscape Vesseltracker’s AIS data showed that one cargo arrived in Oita LNG and one to Senboku LNG shipped on the carriers “Ribera Del Duero Knutsen,” and “Torben Spirit.”

Japan Imports of Lower 48 U.S. LNG

Lower 48 U.S. Sourced LNG Cargoes

According to Genscape’s North American LNG Supply and Demand Report, an increasing number of LNG ships from the U.S. are expected to arrive in Japan in 2018. Cove Point has secured a 20-year contract with Pacific Summit Energy LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation, for the first half of the facility’s contracted volume of 2.3 MPTA. This contract marks the start of a larger trend, as many export contracts with Japanese companies will go into effect over the coming years to increase Japan’s energy security and diversity of supply. Japanese buyers have also contracted additional capacity at Cameron and Freepoint liquefaction facilities, which should bring a total contracted exported capacity to Japan to 14.7 MPTA by late 2019. The data derived from Genscape Vesseltracker’s antennas will be crucial to track the activity of future shipments and to better understand the impact of these contracts.

U.S. LNG Export Contractors with Japanese Buyers

In addition to ship locations, Genscape provides diligent, bottom-up analysis of LNG market conditions. Genscape’s North American LNG Supply and Demand Service garners comprehensive industry intelligence through proprietary monitoring, near-real time data feeds, and relevant market commentary. To learn more about Genscape’s North American LNG Supply and Demand Service, please click here.

Genscape Vesseltracker is continuously adding new antennas across the globe. The antenna partners receive full access to all AIS antenna data and information from our ship database, including vessel owners and managers, and technical specifications. We are always looking to expand our robust network, so if you are interested in becoming a Genscape Vesseltracker antenna partner, please let us know here!