Photo by Tsuda
There are some positive signs that the Japanese economy is starting to recover after the earthquake and tsunami more than a month ago.
On Monday, the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) held a news conference saying that production at oil refineries has now returned to pre-quake levels. Several refineries in the north-east of Japan are back on line after the twin natural disaster shut them down. According to Kyodo News, since March 11 production dropped to 2.7 million barrels per day; however, with production now at full capacity the country is producing about 4 million barrels a day.
The association also pointed out three refineries - the JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp’s Sendai Refinery, Kashima Oil Co’s facility in Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Cosmo Oil Co’s refinery in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture - remain closed because of damage sustained during the earthquake. According to the CIA World Factbook, Japan is ranked fourth biggest oil consumer behind the U.S., European Union and China.
At the news conference, the PAJ said that domestic demand is estimated at 3.3 million barrels per day. [JT]