By MARI IWATA
TOKYO -- Japan and Europe will start a joint study
about liquefied natural gas, seeking ways to lower prices of
the liquid fuel, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry said Friday.
Senior officials of the European Commission and METI will
have a first meeting of the study in Brussels later Friday, a
METI official said.
"Prices of LNG under long-term contracts are more or less
linked to oil in both regions, though we are not sure if it's
reasonable [to price LNG this way]," said Koji Yamashita, the
METI official set up the meeting.
Supply and demand situations should decide prices, and the
two sides will study how they can eliminate oil-link pricing
and the possible ramifications by such an elimination, Mr.
Yamashita said in a telephone conversation.
Since the Fukushima accident in March 2011, Japan's demand
for LNG has risen sharply as utilities ran gas-fired power
plants on full steam to make up for idle nuclear power
As a result, the country's annual demand for LNG rose 23%
and the bill surged by 75% in the next two years, helping widen
Japan's trade deficit, data from the government show.
Dow Jones Newswires