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By Katya Golubkova

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) – Japan cut imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia by 40% in March from a year ago and increased LNG purchases from the United States at a cheaper price, data released by Japan’s finance ministry showedon Thursday.

Australia remained Japan’s largest source of imported LNG with 2.4 million tonnes in March, a 12% drop from a year ago, followed by nearly flat volumes of 1.05 million tonnes from Malaysia, the data showed.

Despite a drop in volumes to 425,000 tonnes, Russia remained Japan’s third-biggest LNG supplier last month, with average importing price of $14.64 per million British thermal units (mmBtu).

Supplies from the United States increased by 41% to 268,000 tonnes at a price of $11.98 per mmBtu, cheaper than not only Russian supplies, but also Australian and Malaysian LNG at $15.84 and $14.26 per mmBtu respectively, the data showed.

The finance ministry’s data is compiled under rules that allow importers to delay clearing imports through the customs bureau, meaning the data is often out of date.

There were, meaning they either may come with a delay or there were no oil flows from Russia to Japan last month. Japan is a shareholder with oil project Sakhalin 1 and LNG project Sakhalin 2 in Russia’s far east.

In February, Japan was importing an average of 8,300 barrels of oil per day from Russia, a 94% drop from a year ago, paying $69.98 per barrel as an average, the finance ministry’s data showed.

The trade ministry releases its own breakdown of monthly crude imports on the last business day of the month, which the oil industry considers as the benchmark data because it tracks actual import status of crude carriers.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Varun H K
Source:Japan replaces some LNG from Russia in March with cheaper US imports – data

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