WASHINGTON – The U.S. Energy Department said Tuesday it has authorized exports of domestically produced liquefied natural gas via an international consortium including Japanese firms such as major trading house Mitsui & Co.
The move is expected to help Japan procure cheaper energy resources including shale gas, with the country having heavily relied on non-nuclear energy resources since the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.
The approval followed two decisions on U.S. exports of LNG to Japan for two similar projects involving Japanese companies.
The department this time approved the Cameron project led by Sempra Energy Inc. of the United States of exporting 12 million tons of LNG per year from a facility in Louisiana.
The project, which aims to start LNG exports in 2017, also involves another Japanese trading house, Mitsubishi Corp., Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, and GDF Suez S.A., a French energy firm.
In Tokyo, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi hailed the latest development as the “result of diplomatic efforts” by the Japanese government, which has been pushing for the approval of LNG exports at summit and ministerial levels.
“Japan will continue to seek to secure cheap LNG in a stable manner,” the minister told reporters.