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Energy sector awaits Japan nuclear outcome

TOKYO, March 14 (UPI) -- The amount of pressure on oil and natural gas markets depends on the extent of the earthquake damage to Japan's nuclear reactors, an analyst said.

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck Japan last week. The country is on alert after weekend explosions rocked reactors at the country's Fukushima nuclear plant.

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Ten of the country's nuclear reactors were taken offline after the quake, leaving the country with a 20 percent energy deficit.

Japan as a result will have to import additional oil and natural gas to make up for the shortfall but the quantities needed will depend on what happens with the nuclear reactors, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The biggest thing is that we have to wait and watch to see how many nuclear plants are shut down and for how long," said Vivek Mathur, an analyst at Energy Security Analysis, Inc., was quoted as saying.

Global energy markets were able to make up for the shortfall after an earthquake struck Japan in 2007. The current crisis in Libya, however, left oil producers scrambling to make up for the millions of barrels of oil left out of the market already.

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Energy prices are at highs not seen since the onset of the global financial meltdown in 2008.

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