TOKYO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- One of the most powerful men in Russia said the country has the reserves on hand to satisfy Japan's entire demand for liquefied natural gas.
"Gas resources are available and we are ready to satisfy all Japan's gas demands on the account of our resources," Igor Sechin, the chief executive officer at Russian energy company Rosneft, said.
Sechin opened the door Friday to Japanese investments in LNG development plans in the Far East. The invitation came as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev outlined a $1.1 billion investment program for development in eastern Russia.
Sechin, who served as deputy prime minister in President Vladimir Putin's government until 2012, said Rosneft is ready to extend invitations to nearly a dozen different production projects to Japanese companies, ranging from exploration to commercial development of energy reserves.
"Rosneft now offers production projects with reserves totaling 6 billion barrels and the resource base of 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent," he said.
Japan relies heavily on imports for its natural gas needs, relying even more on LNG in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown in 2011. With a European economy looking to break the Russian grip on the region's energy sector, the Kremlin, meanwhile, has shifted focus on building successful trade relations with Asia-Pacific economies.
Japan, the world's third-largest economy, announced in February it exited two quarters of consecutive recession. Tokyo later reported the economy declined at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent from April to June.
The International Energy Agency said LNG, a super-cooled and denser product with more deliverability options, represents "a golden opportunity" for Asian economies, with demand for natural gas expected to grow steadily through the end of the decade. Earlier this year, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol warned the window of opportunity may close because of "complacency and short-termism."