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Tokyo Gas Co. said the oil-related cost of liquefied natural gas is too expensive and is renegotiating contracts with sellers.

Suppliers should offer “reasonably economic LNG to buyers,” Tony Okada, general manager of procurement and trading, said in an interview at the World LNG Summit in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The company is negotiating with suppliers over extending existing purchase contracts as well as changing the pricing structure of those agreements, he said.

Japan depends on fuel imports to meet its energy needs and is the world’s biggest buyer of LNG. Asian economies, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, buy gas in multiyear contracts linked to the cost of crude oil.

Spot gas prices plunged after the global recession highlighted the difference in cost between oil-linked gas contracts and the fuel bought on the open market.

Gas production from U.S. shale deposits has cut LNG imports into North America and the continent may become an LNG exporter by the middle of the decade as it liquefies shale gas.

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