Likely 1st import of U.S. liquid shale gas arrives in Japan


A ship carrying liquefied natural gas derived from U.S. shale arrived at a power plant in central Japan on Friday in what is believed to be the first such import to the country.

As Japan has been obtaining LNG mainly from the Middle East and Australia, it is hoped the addition of a supply from the United States will ensure a more stable flow of the energy resource.

JERA Co., co-funded by a unit of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co., procured the U.S. LNG and plans to bring up to 700,000 tons of LNG to Chubu Electric's Joetsu Thermal Power Station in Niigata Prefecture by January 2018.

Although mining shale gas had proved difficult, advances in mining techniques have helped the United States boost its shale gas output in recent years.

It is hoped shale gas can help Japan reduce the cost of fossil-fuel power generation that has grown following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis since as it could be cheaper than natural gas procured from the Middle East that tracks crude oil prices.

The Joetsu plant, with an output capacity of roughly 2.3 million kilowatts, is the first major power plant Chubu Electric built outside of its central Japan service areas.


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