Japan, India officials to discuss high LNG prices


TOKYO -- Government and energy company officials from Japan and India will have a two-day meeting in Tokyo from Tuesday to discuss possible measures to address high global liquefied natural gas prices, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement Monday.

The Japanese government has been seeking ways to reduce its LNG import bill amid soaring domestic demand, and has tried to rally support from other buyer countries like South Korea and India. Japan is the world's largest LNG importer, and buys most of its LNG needs from Malaysia, Qatar, Australia and Russia.

Augustine Peter, Director of Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell at India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Shinichi Kihara, International Affairs Director of METI's Natural Resources and Energy Agency, will attend. Also, officials from Bharat Petroleum Corp. and GAIL (India) Ltd. will participate, METI said in a statement.

The meeting, a follow-up of the one held between the two countries in December in New Delhi, will be closed from the public. Japan and India aim to compile a joint report by summer, the statement said.

Japan's imports of LNG have surged since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, as utilities generate more power from conventional thermal energy sources while keeping their nuclear reactors idle due to public concerns.

Japan imported a record 87 million metric tons of LNG in 2012, up 25% from 2010, government data showed. During the same period, its bill for LNG rose 74% to Y6 trillion ($62 billion), helping to push Japan into a trade deficit.

Dow Jones Newswires

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