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March 21, 2011

Shortage of oil in Japan and refinery, utility, natural gas and coal shutdowns

The Oildrum has covered the situation at the japanese oil refineries and the shortage of oil in Japan.

Nine of the Japanese refineries were damaged and put out of action, and this dropped the amount of fuel being refined from 4,500,000 bd down to 3,100,000 bd

There are several different aspects to the problem; first the oil has to come ashore. With ports closed and unable to re-open for possibly months, shipments from the Middle East, which supplies 80% of Japan’s need, have now been curtailed until the situation becomes clearer. Within the country, the Japanese Government has released around 8 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserve. It is also shipping 250,000 barrels of refined product to the area affected by sea (though this runs into the issue of how to get into the ports and distribution network). At Chiba some of the port has been able to re-open but not the terminal that fed to the Cosmo refinery (since that had burned).

10,796 MW of thermal power generation shut after the quake. Affected nuclear capacity 2,174 MW. So 8,522 MW of non-nuclear power is shutdown. Over four times more non-nuclear power is out than nuclear. Japan's 54 reactors usually 30% of the country's electricity.

There is a claim in the comments that
A lot of people, especially elders, died because of lack of medicine in the aftermath because there was not sufficient oil to use in order to ship the supplies(food, water, medicine) people needed.

There is also claims that the evacuation from fear of radiation resulted in the death of 14 elderly people. This is certainly possible as there are many elderly in a fragile state, so the larger than what turned out to be necessary (in hind sight) evacuation certainly did not help. It would have been better if Japan had been able to maintain better control and avoided any evacuation. There was the need for evacuation from the coast because of further tsunami risks and from earthquake areas from the many aftershocks that followed.

There are various reports online of the impact on the elderly in Japan (UK Telegraph and other sources)



An estimated 452,000 people are living in evacuation facilities, while the death toll has surpassed 7,000 (latest estimates are that the death toll will go over 18000).

Details of Japan refinery, utilities and smelter shutdowns

There is a list with a status list of nuclear plants, thermal power stations, oil refineries, ports and metal-related industries shut in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami.

The green box with a four in it is Fukushima Daiichi.

Location of major power plants in Japan.

The reddish purple circles are thermal (oil, natural gas or coal plants)


   Name        Company   MWe       Fuel
3  Haramachi   Tohoku    2,000     Coal
8  Hirono      Tokyo     3,800     Crude, Fuel Oil, Coal
20 Hitachinaka Tokyo     1,000     Coal
7  Kashima     Tokyo     4,400     Crude, Fuel Oil

Haramachi coal-fired (Plant I, II) Tohoku declared force majeure on near-term thermal coal shipments. TEPCO's thermal power plants now shut (MW) Kashima (Ibaraki) No.1 TEPCO 600

No.3 600

No.5 1,000

No.6 1,000 Ohi (Tokyo) No.2 TEPCO 350 Hirono (Fukushima) No.2 TEPCO 600

No.4 1,000 Hitachinaka (Ibaraki) No.1 TEPCO 1,000 Higashi Ogishima (Kanagawa) No.1 TEPCO 1,000 TEPCO'S total thermal capacity 38,696 Shut capacity 7,150 Tohoku Electric Power's thermal power plant damaged (in MW) Hachinohe (Aomori) No. 3 250 preparing to start Noshiro (Akita) No. 1, 2 1,200 resumed ops Akita (Akita) No. 1-4 1,300 resumed ops Sendai (Miyagi) No. 4 446 shut Shinsendai (Miyagi)No. 1 950 shut for maintenance

No. 2 halted Haramachi (Fukushima)No.1-2 2,000 halted Tohoku's total thermal capacity 10,850 Down capacity 3,646

33.60% TOTAL THERMAL CAPACITY SHUT 10,796 NOTE - Earlier estimates had 10,831 MW of thermal power generation shut after the quake. Tohoku's nuclear capacity 3,274 Affected nuclear capacity 2,174

66.40% Tohoku's hydrogen power 8 of total 210 plants damaged All 8 in northeastern Japan (Tohoku's hydrogen capacity) 2,420 Tohoku's total capacity 16,550 18.50%

LNG Shinminato terminal Sendai Gas shut for 1 mnth

Conveyor belts at Tohoku's coal-fired Haramachi plant I and II have also been damaged by the quake, said a trader who has seen photographs of the damage, but he said it was not clear if the plants' turbines and the cooling walls were also affected.

A 7.3-metre tsunami wave rammed into Soma port on Friday, causing extensive damage. Other ports that have been hit include Hachinohe, Sendai, Onahama and Ishinomaki.

Other trade sources said coal stockpiles held by Tohoku and Japan's Joint Power Co (JOBAN) at the coast were likely to have been washed away or contaminated by seawater.

Three coal carriers, the Shiamizu, Shirouma and Coral Ring, had ran aground while discharging or preparing to unload cargoes because of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

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