Japan trip strengthens B.C.’s natural gas prospects

Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman has completed a business-development trip to help strengthen British Columbia’s working relationship with liquefied natural gas (LNG) partners headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan is the world’s largest LNG importer and is looking for opportunities to diversify the country’s energy portfolio because of limited domestic hydrocarbon resources. Presently, Japan relies on imports for virtually all of its natural gas needs.

British Columbia has a vast supply of natural gas to support energy demands in Japan and throughout Asia.

While in Tokyo, Minister Coleman met with companies interested in, or already part of, B.C.’s LNG opportunity, including:

  • JAPEX: a company holding a 10% equity interest in Progress Energy’s exploration activities in northeast B.C., as well as the Pacific Northwest LNG facility – a significant private sector investment of $36 billion.
  • Mitsubishi Corporation (Mitsubishi): a co-venture partner in LNG Canada, representing up to $40 billion in new investment and approximately 5,500 jobs during peak construction. Mitsubishi is one of Japan’s largest trading companies. It has been supporting exploration and production activities in British Columbia for over four years – highlighted by a $2.9 billion investment in the Monteney area alongside the Encana Corporation.
  • INPEX: Japan’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company, and the JGC Corporation (JGC), a global engineering business, who are working together on Aurora LNG. INPEX and JGC are part of a partnership evaluating Digby Island as a suitable location for Aurora LNG. If built, the facility represents up to $20 billion in new, additional investment. Aurora LNG is making steady progress, with proponents focusing on their environmental assessment.
  • Idemitsu Corporation: (Idemitsu), which sees British Columbia as a destination of choice for LNG plant construction and long-term operations. Idemitsu has partnered with Altagas Ltd. – an active participant in B.C.’s natural gas sector – to evaluate Kitimat or Prince Rupert for an export facility.
  • JERA Co., Inc.: established in 2015 when the Tokyo Electric Power Company and Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. combined to form the largest LNG buyer in the world.

As part of his trip, Minister Coleman also met with Mitsui & Co., JOGMEC, and Canada’s Ambassador to Japan, Mackenzie Clugston, to discuss B.C.’s LNG development and international profile.

The Japanese companies acknowledged British Columbia is an attractive jurisdiction for investment and trade because of its geographic location, proactive skills training programs, and environmental leadership.


Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development –

“Building partnerships with companies in Japan – the world’s largest LNG customer – and with companies in other parts of Asia will strengthen our trade prospects and attract the investment we need to diversify our natural gas sector and create jobs for British Columbians.”

Eiji Yanagawa, Mitsui general manager, Global Natural Gas development department –

“Mitsui is one of Japan’s largest trading companies and we are always looking to expand our natural gas business. British Columbia is a growing international player in the energy marketplace and we are excited about the opportunity to work with them to expand our liquefied natural gas portfolio.”

Osamu Watanabe, president, JAPEX –

“JAPEX believes our Pacific NorthWest LNG project in Canada could provide security and diversification of natural gas supply required for Japanese customers. We emphasize the importance of the project competitiveness in a challenging global market and appreciate the active engagement and open approach to consultation that the Province of British Columbia has offered throughout the process. The visit made by Minister Coleman reaffirms B.C.’s commitment to LNG development and export.”

Stewart Beck, president and CEO, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada –

“With the export of LNG to Japan, B.C. will be a critical partner in ensuring Japan’s long-term energy security. Japan is a vital trading partner and friend, and ensuring the country receives clean, cost-effective and secure energy supplies is critical for Japan and B.C. in a dynamically growing and competitive Asia.”

Photostream of Coleman’s trip:https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/sets/72157634049014795/

Quick Facts:

  • British Columbia’s natural gas resource base is estimated at over 3,400 trillion cubic feet (tcf). B.C. has enough natural gas supply to support production and LNG exports for over 80 years. If industry were able to extract 20% of B.C.’s total resource over the long-term, future development and LNG export operations could be sustainable for more than 160 years.
  • Japan has been diversifying its energy supply since a March 2011 earthquake damaged energy infrastructure in the country and shutdown nuclear electric generating capacity. Japan accounted for 37% of the global market share of LNG demand following the event, from 2012 through most of 2014.
  • Natural gas is Japan’s preferred fuel source to replace the nuclear shortfall. Natural gas consumption in Japan rose from 19% in 2010 to 22% of total primary consumption in 2013.
  • In 2013, Japan consumed 4.6 tcf of natural gas – an increase of approximately 58% from the recorded level in 2000.
  • Japan’s power sector is its largest natural gas consumer (68% of mix), followed by the industrial sector (17%), residential (8%), commercial (4%) and other sectors (3%).

Learn More:

For more information about B.C.’s LNG opportunity, visit: www.LNGinBC.ca


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