• Kyodo

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Ministers and business delegates from around 50 countries and regions gathered in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss further development of the liquefied natural gas market and the latest market trends and challenges.

The LNG Producer-Consumer Conference has been hosted annually by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry since 2012. It comes as the government seeks a manageable way to set LNG prices given the recent increase in imports for thermal plants in the absence of nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

“A market that is flexible and can function better will provide benefits for (both) producing and consuming countries,” Japanese industry minister Yoichi Miyazawa said in a speech.

Flexibility in deciding prices for LNG will help lower costs in Asia, where it mostly trades at higher prices than in Europe or the United States, under long-term contracts linked to crude oil prices, ministry officials said.

Miyazawa also underscored the importance of stable procurement of LNG in the event of emergencies such as natural disasters, adding the issue was expected to be one of the agenda items at a Group of Seven energy ministers’ meeting slated for next May in Japan.

Mohammed Saleh al-Sada, minister of energy and industry in Qatar, and International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol are among the participants at the fourth LNG conference.

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