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Japan's TEPCO gears up for US shale gas imports

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2013 at 1:38 am •  Published: February 7, 2013

The Japanese government which took power in late December, led by the Liberal Democratic Party, appears to be backing away from a commitment by the previous administration to phase out nuclear power. But tighter regulations following the Fukushima accident and public opposition are slowing any moves to bring nuclear plants shut down for safety checks back online.

Soaring imports of oil and gas helped push Japan's trade deficit in 2012 to 6.9 trillion yen ($75 billion). As the largest Japanese electricity company, TEPCO is especially keen to reduce costs for its fuel imports.

It said its facilities, designed to handle so-called "hot" or "rich" LNG, need to be adapted to the type of "lean LNG" — LNG with a low heating value — to be shipped from the Cameron project.

A 10-year plan the company announced earlier calls for importing 10 million metric tons per year of lean LNG, expanding its LNG storage capacity, setting up a specialized LNG receiving terminal and upgrading equipment.

Mitsui and Mitsubishi are targeting 4 million metric tons a year in U.S. LNG exports from the Cameron project, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported.