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Trading house Toyota Tsusho Corp., part-owned by Japan’s biggest automaker, will sell coal-bed methane to the world’s first liquefied natural gas project to use the fuel, company officials said.

The company will supply the fuel to BG Group PLC’s LNG plant for 20 years, officials at the Nagoya-based company said. The methane will be extracted from a coal bed in Queensland, where the trader owns 15 percent in a gas project.

BG Group’s Queensland Curtis LNG plant, due to go online in 2014, will become the world’s first facility to use coal-bed methane for liquefaction, a process that allows gas to be transported. The plant has signed a sales contract with a Japanese power company and a gas company, Toyota Tsusho said, without disclosing the names of the buyers.

A boom in gas extraction from nontraditional sources, such as from shale rock and coal deposits, has helped the U.S. slash imports of the fuel and lower LNG prices to less than a third of that paid by Japan, the world’s biggest LNG importer. Japanese companies are following suit as they add nontraditional assets to their energy holdings.

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