Japan plans to import from North America 15 million tones of LNG beginning 2016.
In 2016 the US will end restrictions on exports to Japan, considered the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer. On Wednesday, June 28th, a group of Japanese cabinet ministers declared that 15 million tones, will be almost 20% of Japan’s annual LNG imports. In 2011, the high costs for importing more fuel due to the Fukushima disaster, brought Japan into its first trade deficit in the last 30 years.
Now the country plans to rely less on nuclear power and focus on cheaper natural gas in Canada and the US, only when their facilities are able to cool natural gas to a liquid for transport. Although no agreement has been made yet between Japan and the US, four Japanese companies expressed their interest in two U.S. shale gas projects: Cove Point in Maryland and Cameron in Louisiana.
Beginning 2011 Tokyo has been negotiating with Washington to convince government offer more shale gas projects to allow LNG export to countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the US, aiming at using the Panama canal as a means of export.