Gazprom considering Japanese gas pipeline

Japan was taking on more gas after Fukushima, but appetites are lower as more reactors come back online.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   June 8, 2017 at 9:18 AM
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June 8 (UPI) -- If the economics of an agreement are constructive, Japan could eventually get its natural gas from a Russian pipeline, a Gazprom executive said.

Japanese companies are playing a role in the development of liquefied natural gas projects led by Gazprom in the Yamal Peninsula in the far north and on the Pacific coast. Alexander Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the country, said that could open doors for a Japanese gas pipeline as well.

"We cannot exclude on the basis of general preconditions that construction of such a pipeline will be economically feasible," he was quoted as saying by Russia news agency Tass. "Prospects and the situation are good; all our counterparts are set for fruitful work."

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in 2011, Japan started taking on more natural gas to make up for the power gap. With the restart of some reactors, however, demand for gas could start moving lower on sector diversity and economic grounds.

Last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Japan's economy was under strain, with growth expected to slip from 0.7 percent growth to 0.4 percent in 2017.

The Japanese government reported Thursday the economy grew 1 percent in terms of gross domestic product during the first quarter, the sixth quarter in a row for an expansion. Nevertheless, the growth was slow and down from the 2.2 percent rate indicated in a preliminary forecast from May.

Japanese company Marubeni Corp. in December signed a memorandum of understanding with Novatek, Russia's largest independent natural gas company. Under the terms of the understanding, both sides will explore options for supplies of LNG possibly from an Arctic line.

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