Japan's top power generator JERA returned to profit in the first half of the 2023/24 fiscal year, owing to lower fuel procurement costs and higher electricity prices, it said on Friday.

Net profit stood at 291 billion yen ($2.2 billion) for the six months through September, against a loss of 214 billion yen a year earlier.

"The result was also backed by stronger gains from overseas power generation and renewable energy businesses, such as Formosa 2 offshore wind power project in Taiwan," Tetsuo Yoshida, JERA's head of global investor relations, told reporters.

JERA, one of the world's biggest buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), stuck to its full-year forecast of 350 billion yen, a jump from 17.8 billion yen in the year earlier.

The resumption in imports of LNG from the U.S. Freeport LNG plant after a fire will reduce its annual procurement expense by about 90 billion yen, Yoshida said. The Freeport plant was shut after a pipeline explosion in June 2022, disrupting supplies.

The reduction in costs will help offset lower earnings of its trading unit JERAGM, which saw a strong trading income during the energy crisis, led by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

JERA raised its full-year assumption for oil prices to $90 a barrel from $79 and for exchange rates to 144 yen per dollar from 140 yen.

Asked about the impact of the Israel-Hamas war, Yoshida said: "We haven't fully assessed the impact of the Middle East situation, but we will take a bit of time to analyse it by looking at the market and the supply-demand situation."

Meanwhile, JERA, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, has secured a sufficient level of LNG that will ensure a stable supply during the winter demand season, he said. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Sonia Cheema)