QATAR: Japan eyes more LNG from Qatar

Japan, which faces uncertainty in its nuclear energy options, expects liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Qatar to rise in view of its increasing energy demand.

From left: Japanese Ambassador Kenjiro Monji; Ali Hamed Abdulla al-Mulla, acting manager for corporate health, safety and environment and manager for corporate environment and sustainable development at Qatar Petroleum; Yoshida and Takashi Tatsumi, executive vice-president for Research at Tokyo Institute of Technology addressing a session at the 2nd Joint Qatar-Japan Environment symposium yesterday.

“After the earthquake, Japan has drastically increased its imports on LNG from Qatar and will continue to do so for the next several years,” Morihiro Yoshida, managing director of Japan Co-operation Center, Petroleum (JCCP) told reporters on the sidelines of 2nd Joint Qatar-Japan Environment/21st Joint GCC-Japan Environment symposium, jointly organised by Qatar Petroleum and JCCP.

More than 150 industry professionals from Japan, Qatar, and other parts of the Middle East are taking part in the event where a total of 23 technical papers are being presented. The sessions, which will conclude today, will cover a wide range of environmental topics, including wastewater treatment, alternative energy sources, carbon capture and storage, and the protection of the marine environment.

The future of nuclear energy is “uncertain” in Japan with only one reactor working as of now, he said, adding “we will have more dependence on LNG” as it could be considered as an alternative to nuclear energy.

Terming Qatar as a “close partner” of Japan, especially in the field of energy; he said the LNG supply from Qatar made a up a major part of the total LNG import to Japan,

“With LNG being a clear source of energy and one of the main sources of power generation in Japan, the stable supply of LNG plays a significant role in sustaining the Japanese economy,” Yoshida said.

Japan’s LNG imports rose 7.4% year-on-year to 7.70mn tonnes in December, according to Japanese finance ministry data. The country’s main LNG importing electricity utilities bought a record 58.68m tonnes of in 2012 with Qatar being a key supply source, supplying 15.66m tonnes. Qatargas has committed more mid-term LNG to key electricity utility buyers, including Tokyo Electric, Kansai Electric and Chubu Electric.

Qatargas had last year said it was committed to delivering an additional 20mn tonnes of LNG to Japan over a period of several years to support Japan’s increased energy requirements.

Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power had last year signed a contract with Qatargas to buy 500,000 tonnes per year LNG for 15 years from January 2013.

The deal came after Tokyo Electric signed a new contract with Qatargas to purchase 1mn tonnes of LNG per year from August 2012.

Japanese utilities have been increasingly resorting to gas-fired power generation as a vast majority of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors remain offline due to public concerns about atomic safety.

Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times

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