The government is asking liquefied natural gas importers to secure new decadeslong supply deals under efforts to boost energy security.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been meeting with Japanese buyers, as well as overseas suppliers, to urge the signing of more long-term LNG contracts, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The push is meant to insulate Japan from future supply shocks, as well as potentially harsher sanctions against Russian fuel exports, the people said.
The move is another step by Japan, the world’s biggest LNG importer last year, to ensure that power producers and industries have enough gas amid the transition to cleaner sources. It comes after European and Asian rivals signed several 27-year deals with Qatar in recent months, raising questions over their climate commitments.
Japan will continue to need long-term contracts to provide stable energy supply, which will need to be balanced with purchases on the spot market, said an official at the trade ministry. Pursuing carbon neutrality will need to take place in parallel, the official said.
Annual long-term LNG supply contracted by Japanese buyers will decrease by 30% from 2022 levels to 55 million tons by 2030, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year upended gas markets around the world, triggering record-high prices and stoking worries about fuel security. At the Group of Seven summit earlier this year, Japan and Germany pushed for the inclusion of language that left the door open for public investment in gas.