By STEPHEN BELL
PERTH, Australia -- Japan will play a "pivotal" role in
Australian LNG exports over the next five years, an executive
of Inpex Corp. said on Wednesday.
"Even though it is expected that China and India will become significant buyers
of Australian LNG during the next decade I think I should
remind you that Japan will continue to be the pivotal influence
on LNG development in this country," said Hitoshi Okawa,
Inpex corporate communications director for Australia.
However, Japan's long-term imported liquefied natural gas
demand can't be specified until it determines a preferred
energy mix, Mr. Okawa said in a speech to an industry
conference in Darwin. That will be known before the end of the
year, he said.
"Short-term LNG demand in Japan is subject to the restart of
nuclear power reactors and the growth of other energy sources
such as renewables and coal," Mr. Okawa added.
Japan's demand for imported LNG -- which ballooned after the
2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster -- eased in the first half of
the year and may fall further if the government's call for the
restarting of dozens of reactors is approved.
Last year Australia shipped about 24 million metric tons of
LNG -- most to Japan. Australian exports are forecast to more
than triple in the next five years as new projects come on stream. It has more
than a dozen projects either under construction or on the drawing
board. Seven terminals currently being built should allow
Australia to leapfrog Qatar as the world's biggest LNG exporter
Inpex is building and will run the $34 billion Ichthys LNG
Project in Australia's Northern
Territory. It is expected to start production by the end of
2016 and reach an output of 8.4 million tpy at its peak. It
will send the gas to Japan via its new Naoetsu LNG receiving
terminal. Stakeholders include Total of France, Tokyo Gas Co.,
Osaka Gas Co. and Toho Gas.
Dow Jones Newswires