KUWAIT CITY, March 14 (UPI) -- Japanese officials at an energy conference in Kuwait sought natural gas assurances from the United States, a delegate from Tokyo said.
A magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. That left Tokyo scrambling to find alternative energy sources to offset the lack of nuclear power.
A Japanese delegate was quoted by the Platts news service as saying that Tokyo will "ask for U.S. permission on liquefied natural gas exports" on the sidelines of an international energy conference in Kuwait.
A boom in the production of shale natural gas from the United States makes it a net exporter.
Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultant company, was quoted by Platts as saying the United States could export as much as 3.5 billion cubic feet of LNG by 2030. Japan would need a waiver from the United States, however, because the lack of a free-trade agreement.
Russian energy company Gazprom had preliminary talks with Japan for LNG last month.
Japan, the largest LNG importer in the world, relies on LNG to meet 100 percent of its natural gas needs.