Gazprom wooing Japan with natural gas

April 19, 2013 at 7:05 AM

TOKYO, April 19 (UPI) -- Russian and Japanese interests are aligned in terms of potential shipments of liquefied natural gas, Russian energy company Gazprom said.

Gazprom in 2007 adopted a program to get more natural gas to Asian markets. Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller visited Japan to talk with Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and other officials to discuss energy sector cooperation.

"A focus of the discussions was placed on the Vladivostok-LNG project that might start supplying liquefied natural gas to Japan from 2018," Gazprom said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit Moscow this month.

Japan's appetite for natural gas as an energy source increased in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in 2011. Japan relies on LNG to meet its natural gas demands.

Japanese use of liquefied natural gas set a record in January 2012 of 9 billion cubic feet per day, 2 billion cubic feet more than the same period for 2011.

Last month, U.S. supermajor Chevron announced a long-term sales and purchase agreement with Japanese utility Chubu Electric Power Co. for LNG from the Wheatstone project in Australia.

First gas is expected by 2016 from Wheatstone LNG.

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