Japan’s Mitsubishi, Mitsui ink US gas deal

Japan’s Mitsubishi, Mitsui ink US gas deal

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Japan’s Mitsubishi, Mitsui ink US gas deal

AFP photo

Japan’s Mitsubishi and Mitsui said they will import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S., amid a push to boost energy sources after last year’s nuclear crisis.

The country’s two largest trading companies said they would each order 4 million tons of gas annually from Cameron LNG, a unit of Sempra Energy, as early as 2016, reportedly the first such deal between Japan and the U.S.

The deal comes as Japan pushes to boost new energy sources amid strong public opposition to restarting the country’s atomic reactors after the March quake-tsunami disaster sparked the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

Resource-poor Japan and South Korea are the world’s top LNG importers, accounting for nearly half of all shipments.

Last week, Mitsubishi said it was in talks with Royal Dutch Shell as well as a Chinese and a South Korean firm to produce LNG in Western Canada, in a deal reportedly worth more than $12.0 billion. Yesterday, Mitsubishi said it had agreed to “procure 4.0 million tons annually from the North American natural gas market ... processed through the Cameron LNG facility.” A Mitsubishi spokesman said the firm will then sell the gas, which is temporarily liquefied for easier storage and transportation, to utility customers in Japan and other parts of Asia.