MOSCOW, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- With Japan expecting to consume more natural gas, Russian energy company Gazprom said it was looking for closer ties to the Japanese economy.
Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller met in Moscow with Tetsuhiro Hosono, the director general of Japan's energy agency, to sign an agreement of cooperation.
Both sides agreed to move ahead with engineering work on a liquefied natural gas plant near Vladivostok, not far from Japan's west coast.
The bilateral agreement of cooperation outlines options for natural gas and gas sales from the Vladivostok region to Asia-Pacific customers, Gazprom said in a statement.
Japan is the fourth-largest consumer of energy resources in the world and the leader in consumption of LNG, relying on the liquefied resource for 100 percent of its imported gas.
Miller said during a holiday message that his "company is gradually moving eastward."
Both sides, Gazprom added, are studying a pilot project for offshore transportation of gas chemicals from Vladivostok.