Question: Why is Gastech so important to Japan?

Answer: The global gas market has seen a big change in recent years since the shale gas revolution occurred in the U.S. Following the Paris Agreement in 2016, climate change issues are now coming to the forefront and the energy market is entering a grand transition period. As represented by the commencement of gas market liberalization in Japan, 2017 is already signaling the beginning of a change in the Asian energy market, so I believe it is an important period to fully explore the impact these changes will have toward the Asian and global energy market.

Under such circumstances, Gastech is a very important event that provides many key players from various sectors with opportunities to discuss the key trends and policies that will affect the gas market and industry.

Q: What does the future for gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) look like in Japan?

A: Current long-term forecasts by the government show demand for natural gas will decline by 2030 due to a shift in the balance of energy consumption such as the gradual restart of nuclear power plants.

However, the nation’s current nuclear situation won’t be easily resolved, as we have seen nuclear power coming back very slowly. Amid such circumstances and also by the global movement toward a green future supported by the Paris Agreement, I strongly believe LNG will continue to play a significant role in Japan’s future.

Q: What impact could the development of battery and fuel cell technology have on the energy landscape? How can natural gas play a role?

A: Battery technology has witnessed developments primarily due to the introduction of renewables and electric vehicles (EVs). As increasing numbers of EVs are introduced to the market, it has become clear that they cannot be the only solution for automobiles. Developments in technology have led to electrification and this shift means that it’s now more important than ever for fuel cells to be able to retain their energy reserves.

Renewables and natural gas need not compete for the affections of the consumer, the technologies can complement each other, meaning that natural gas can contribute to the overall success of renewables, battery and fuel cell technologies.

Q: Do gas and LNG have a major long-term role to play in a low-carbon global economy, or will renewable energy eventually supply all of our energy needs?

A: The generation of renewable energy has accelerated, but it leads to questions such as how the existing grid system will accommodate the influx and the reliability of the energy generation. While demand management and digitalization will support the grid system, natural gas will still have to be one of major sources of energy to accommodate the fluctuation of renewables. Even in the International Energy Agency’s 450 parts per million scenario, natural gas remains a key source.

My belief is that oil will peak by 2030, and demand for natural gas will increase in the next two decades because of new markets and new sources of energy. Governments will shift away from the installation of new coal-fired power stations, as they will be very difficult to maintain both financially and politically.

Q: Could you give us an update into your key international gas and LNG projects?

A: The new American business model which separates supply, transport and liquefaction, is a significant shift away from the traditional integrated LNG projects. There seems to be multiple new LNG projects planned in the U.S., followed by some potential LNG projects in East Africa, Russia, Canada and Alaska.

In the past we participated in a number of upstream projects in Australia. Upstream investment provided us with a profit, but our minor share meant that we didn’t have full control. U.S. LNG projects look different as we can liquefy our gas and transport it by ourselves. I believe our investments in the U.S. will give us a lot of new opportunities in the upstream business.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve at Gastech 2017?

A: The Gastech conference and exhibition is the perfect communication platform for energy professionals and there are many opportunities to meet with the most important players in the energy market. Ultimately, we would like to achieve securing meetings with various key stakeholders in the market.

Q: Who are you most interested in meeting at Gastech?

A: As the conference will be attended by many players from various sectors, we are looking forward to meeting with as many people as possible from major companies and Asian utilities.

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