50 years of LNG imports in Japan

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 8, 2019

”Polar Alaska”, transporting the first cargo of LNG to Japan. Photo: JERA

”Polar Alaska”, transporting the first cargo of LNG to Japan. Photo: JERA

Japanese gas buyers marked the 50th anniversary since the first cargo of liquefied natural gas arrived in Japan, now the world’s biggest importer of the fuel.

On November 4th, 1969, LNG was first imported to Japan. Tokyo Electric Power Company (now JERA Co., Inc.) and Tokyo Gas, through Mitsubishi Corporation acting as a buyer’s agent, started receiving LNG in 1969 from the Alaska LNG Project with Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips) as a seller.

Demand for LNG and natural gas is expected to further increase globally, especially in the emerging countries. The role of LNG and natural gas is expected to expand further in the next half century, such as utilization by LNG fired power plants to compliment power supply fluctuations of renewables which is rapidly growing throughout the world.

JERA, Tokyo Gas, Mitsubishi and ConocoPhillips will continue contributing to the further usage of LNG and to the development of the LNG industry by utilizing the experience and knowledge accumulated during the 50 years.

To celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the introduction of LNG, the four companies hosted “The Ceremony for the 50th Anniversary of LNG to Japan” on November 6th, 2019.

Toshihiro Sano, Chairman, JERA said: "Since its beginnings with the Minami-Yokohama Thermal Power Station, LNG thermal power generation in Japan has steadily expanded thanks to the supports of local residents and other parties involved, and today plays an indispensable role in supplying the nation's electricity."

"With rising demand for LNG in emerging economies and its anticipated utilization in new areas such as transportation, the importance of LNG is expected to grow further in the future. JERA intends to contribute to expanding the use of LNG both in Japan and overseas by applying the skills in the safe and efficient use of LNG that we have acquired over the course of half a century," he added.

Takashi Uchida, President, Tokyo Gas said: "For half a century since the introduction of LNG, Tokyo Gas has been building an LNG value chain, developing and expanding LNG demand in Japan and overseas through the extensive use of natural gas. In order to pave the way for "the next 50 years" as responses to climate change are now being demanded globally, Tokyo Gas will carry on the pioneering spirit that has been passed on since the introduction of LNG to take on new challenges such as further extensive utilization of natural gas and reduction of CO2 emissions through the combination of LNG and renewable energy."

In March 1967, Tokyo Electric Power Company (now JERA) and Tokyo Gas, with Mitsubishi acting as a buyer’s agent, signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement with Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips) and Marathon Oil.

In November 1969, the first cargo of LNG was imported from Alaska aboard the LNG ship “Polar Alaska” to Negishi LNG Terminal (Isogo-ku, Yokohama City), which was the joint receiving terminal of Tokyo Electric Power Company Minami Yokohama Thermal Power Plant and Tokyo Gas Negishi LNG Terminal.

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