By YUJI OKADA
MINATO (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Gas Company is seeking to take majority stakes in LNG projects in Southeast Asia or Africa as it seeks to reduce the cost of imports.
Japans biggest gas supplier is interested in plants that can produce as much as 3 MMmtpy of LNG, according to Shigeru Muraki, an EVP. It can have more operational control with a share in such mid-sized projects, rather than large ones, he said in an interview. By comparison, Chevrons planned Wheatstone facility in Western Australia will have an initial annual capacity of 8.9 MMtpy.
We can probably team up with other Japanese companies such as JGC Corporation or Chiyoda Corporation, Muraki said at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea.
Bringing down LNG prices is a pressing issue for Japan, where the super-chilled fuel costs four times as much as in the US, Toshimitsu Motegi, the trade and industry minister, said in Tokyo in September. The country paid an average $16.37/MMBtu for LNG in July, according to data from LNG Japan Corp.
Tokyo Gas, which plans to purchase 1.4 MMtpy of LNG from the Cove Point terminal in the US state of Maryland, is also considering trading the fuel with buyers in Europe.
The purpose of the LNG trade is to adjust supply and gas demand in Japan, Muraki said. We believe we can minimize the big difference in prices by connecting the two markets in the east and west.