Japan loves coal: Consumption jumps 26% in October

Japan's energy consumption, 2011

Japan's coal consumption jumped 26% in October, compared to the same month last year. As the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), this could have implications for the sector.

According to Reuters, the country's 10 main utilities consumed nearly 16% more coal in the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period last year. Two new power stations are expected to start producing next month, adding 3.7 million tonnes per year to demand.

Japan is the world's second-largest coal importer and the third-largest oil consumer. A major surge in the country's coal consumption could raise global prices which are down nearly 9% for the year.

After the Fukushima meltdown, Japan began shutting nuclear reactors and had to make a sudden switch to oil to meet energy demands.

But replacing crippled nuclear facilities is expensive. In an effort to make Japan's industry more competitive, the government has encouraged the use of coal. According to a Reuters report from last month, the country plans to introduce 14 new gas and coal fired plants in 2014.

As the black rock gains popularity, a gas analyst who spoke with Reuters said he's considering revising his forecast that the 12 months leading to March 2014 will see record LNG consumption.