Gazprom, Japan talk gas amid nuclear halt

May 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM

MOSCOW, May 4 (UPI) -- Japanese and Russian officials are exploring the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline to ensure Japan's energy security, a Gazprom official said.

Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev met with a parliamentary delegation from Japan in Moscow.

Representatives discussed prospects for liquefied natural gas from the Sakhalin plant on the east coast of Russia. In addition, the parties discussed prospects for building a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Japan, said Gazprom.

"Our activities hinge on the principle that the projects we deliver jointly with foreign partners should be mutually beneficial," Medvedev said in a statement.

Gazprom offered few details about the proposed natural gas pipeline.

Japan gets 100 percent of its natural gas demands through LNG. The country was forced to take on more natural gas after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled its nuclear energy sector.

Japan this weekend will shut its last remaining nuclear reactor for maintenance, leaving the country without nuclear power for the first time in more than 40 years.

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