Japan’s liquefied natural gas imports last month fell to the lowest in more than 20 years as efforts to save energy and boost nuclear power reduced the need for the fossil fuel.

Deliveries declined to around 4 million tons in May, about a 30% drop on the same month a year ago and the least since 2002, according to ship-tracking and government data. Japan’s gas storage is so well stocked that importers were offering to sell shipments last month. 

Japan’s government has been appealing to households and businesses to conserve energy, after last year’s energy crisis stretched the grid, risked blackouts and raised utility bills. In recent months, lower LNG and coal prices have also helped trim fuel import costs for the nation’s electricity producers and eased pressure on power prices.

“The last time Japanese power consumption was this weak was in May 2020, at the height of Covid,” said Joachim Moxon, a senior LNG analyst at ICIS. “At the same time, we are also seeing a slowdown in industrial gas use.”

The drop in LNG deliveries to Japan, a top importer, is helping to ease the global fuel shortage, pushing prices to the lowest level in two years.