A new liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Louisiana, United States has seen new investments coming from three big Japanese traders in Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corp., and Nippon Yusen K.K. who will all jointly share a one-third stake in the LNG export facility to be built for as much as 10 billion US dollars. This move is seen as still part of Japan’s desire to tap cheaper fossil fuel sources, like U.S. shale gas exports, following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The trilateral group – made up of Mitsui, Japan’s second-biggest trading company, and a joint venture formed by Mitsubishi and Nippon Yusen, the country’s largest trader and shipping line respectively – will each hold a 16.6 percent stake in the planned Cameron LNG terminal to be built in Hackberry, Louisiana, as revealed by the companies in separate announcements, also revealing a 20-year deal to buy fuel from the said facility. According to the revealed details of the deal, San Diego’s Sempra Energy will retain a majority stake in the project at 50.2 percent, while France’s GDF Suez SA will take the remainder. Construction of the new Louisiana LNG facility is scheduled to begin next year, and set to start operations by the second half of 2017.
The agreement is another sign of Japan’s major efforts to seek out cheap fossil fuel supplies for thermal power generation; this after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a major panic in Japan regarding nuclear power plants and their safety. This resulted in the mothballing of all but two of the nation’s atomic reactors. “Global demand for natural gas and LNG is expected to grow,” Tokyo-based Mitsui said today in a statement. “Mitsui will contribute to stable LNG production as well as stable energy supply to the global market, including Japan.” Analysts have warned that the Japanese economy, experiencing a bit of improvement in recent weeks, should find a cheaper alternative to imported fossil fuels if the country wants to see sustainable economic growth. Japan is battling with rising fossil fuel costs as it seeks to secure alternative fuels.
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