Japan scrambles the planet looking for gas deals
By Tim Daiss -- Dec 04
Since the March 11, 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and Japan's subsequent shut down off all but two of its 50 nuclear reactors, the country is frantically trying to secure natural gas for electricity generation. However this has proven problematic for Japan, who has virtually no hydrocarbon resources of her own.
For starters, Japan's electricity sector relies mostly on imported LNG. Yet, LNG in Asia (which is still tied to oil prices) is expensive, more than three times the price of natural gas in North America where prices are mostly tied to supply and demand.
Consequently, Japan has scrambled the planet looking for and striking gas deals from the US to Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. A natural place for Japan to also look is neighboring Russia. Though relations between the two have been historically chilly, they compliment each other perfectly. Japan needs natural gas and Russia needs new gas customers.
Russia, an energy heavyweight, relies on hydrocarbons to power its economy, and most of that demand comes from Europe. But that has become a quandary for Moscow. The Eurozone has just entered a double dip recession and gas demand is dropping. The price of gas in Europe is also falling, which is taking a toll on Russia's coffers.
The latest gas news between Japan and Russia broke in November when a Japanese consortium announced plans to build a 1,400-kilometer (869-mile) gas pipeline from Russia's Sakhalin Island to Metro Tokyo.
According to a feasibility study, the offshore pipeline would cost 300 to 400 billion yen ($3.65 billion to $4.87 billion) with a 5-7 year completion time.
Yet this is not the first time that an energy company has tried to build a pipeline from Sakhalin to Japan.
|| Abe makes ritual offering to Yasukuni |
| || Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a ritual offering to war-related Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo on Monday for its three-day spring festival that started the same day. (Jiji Press ) |
|| Mitsui O.S.K. ship seized in China |
| || Shanghai's maritime court has seized a ship owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. <9104> in connection with a wartime contract dispute involving the Japanese shipping company, according to an announcement by the court. (Jiji Press ) |
|| Japan, U.S. OK 9% floor on beef tariff |
| || Japan and the United States have agreed in bilateral talks held in connection with the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord negotiations that the tariff on imported U.S. beef will be "9 percent or more," according to government sources. (The Japan News ) |
|| Man jumps to death after fatally stabbing father |
| || Police in Tokyo said that a 46-year-old man apparently jumped to his death after fatally stabbing his father at their condominium in Tokyo's Koto Ward on Sunday morning. (Japan Today ) |
|| Matsushima gull feeding ban to protect pine trees |
| || Feeding black-tailed gulls has been a popular activity on the sightseeing boats that cruise around the Matsushima islets, considered to be one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan, but local authorities banned the practice this month in a bid to protect the islets' famous pine trees from withering as a result of nitrogen in the droppings of the gulls, who have bred in large numbers in the area. (The Japan News ) |
|| Japan opens Imperial Palace to public |
| || Japan opened the Imperial Palace to the public on Saturday, starting a string of special palace openings to celebrate the longevity of Emperor Akihito who turned 80 last December. (Jiji Press ) |
|| Japan virtual star Hatsune Miku to join Lady Gaga tour |
| || Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today ) |