VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 9 (UPI) -- Canada may be a natural gas market ripe for courtship from a Japanese economy hungry for more energy supplies, a Japanese energy executive said.
Japan is looking for more natural gas supplies to make up for the loss of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. 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. Japan has no natural gas reserves of its own.
The Japanese government said it was ready to provide $10 billion in loan guarantees for its companies working in the Canadian natural gas sector. Canadian officials are eager to develop west coast terminals to facilitate overseas LNG deliveries.
Keisuke Tsujimoto, who manages the Vancouver office for state-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., told The Vancouver Sun that Canada was a natural partner for Japan.
"We appreciate the stable supply, that Canada is very near Asian markets including Japan, Korea and China, and the stable political situation," he said. "Canada is a very open market."
Energy Minister Rich Coleman said LNG plans were making substantial progress, through environmental groups say that want assurances that safeguards are in place as development moves forward.