Japan to host the largest energy event in over a decade

Friday, 10 February, 2017

As Japan plans its future energy landscape beyond 2030, security of gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply are at the top of the agenda. The role that cleaner natural gas and LNG will play in a future that appears set to abandon any previous reliance on nuclear power places Japan at a crossroads: does the country shift back towards greater consumption of fossil fuels or does it turn full tilt towards renewable energy and a diversification of energy sources?

As the world’s largest importer of LNG — importing nearly one-third of all global supply — Japan relies heavily on fuel imports, and on the predictability of stable and trustworthy supplies of natural gas and LNG. But with LNG prices having fallen to close to 50% of peak levels being paid in 2014, Japan (and other major Asian buyers) now finds itself in the rare position of being able to dictate and drive pricing and contracts closer to their own terms of interest.

A deregulated electricity market has opened up new competition between Japanese utility companies and further key changes will be announced in 2017 by the government, which makes this year one of the most pivotal in Japan’s energy history. Major utilities such as Tokyo Gas and JERA (a buying partnership formed from Tokyo Electric Power Company and Chubu Electric) are leading the way in driving new international partnerships between Asian customers seeking to drive improved terms and conditions in their fuel procurement.

JERA recently acquired French giant EDF Trading’s coal and freight division, while leading general trading houses such as Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co and Marubeni already invest substantially in various upstream and LNG export projects across the globe.

The country has a wealth of experience in the sector, making it the ideal location for the upcoming Gastech exhibition and conference. It is a hub for discussion and networking among global energy experts, and the event is unique because it provides a Global Meeting Service, which enables attendees to pre-book meetings, with those meetings facilitated during the event. This provides a natural background for Japan’s leading energy players that are keen to develop their presence in the global arena. For the first time in its 40-year history, Gastech Japan 2017 (Tokyo, 4–7 April) will be hosted by the Japan Gastech Consortium, a collaboration of the 10 largest energy companies in Japan — JERA, Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co, Tokyo Gas, INPEX, ITOCHU, JAPEX, JX Group, Marubeni and Sumitomo Corporation.

Shigeru Muraki, executive advisor of Tokyo Gas, commented: “As one of the largest importers of energy products, the emergence of trends and markets such as marine, renewables and low-carbon systems will undoubtedly have a massive impact. Conferences such as Gastech are essential, because they bring the key players in the sector together to discuss the key trends and policies that will affect the industry.

“Our top management would like to meet with the major oil companies and gas players, such as Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, KOGAS and CPC Corporation.”

Hiroki Sato, senior executive vice president, JERA, stated: “We are very excited about the event and were surprised to hear that this is the first time that the exhibition and conference will be held in Japan. Our ultimate goal is for the convention to be a success, and to cement Japan’s position on the global energy market, not only for buyers but for suppliers.”

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