TOKYO, November 6 (Itar-Tass) — Japan’s biggest gas company Tokyo Gas jointly with its partners has worked out a variant for the construction of a pipeline to deliver gas from Russia’s Sakhalin island to the centre of the country, an official of the company told Itar-Tass, commenting on the articles published in some mass media recently, adding that there were no decision to this effect.
Tokyo Gas jointly with Japan Petroleum Exploration Company Limited (JAPEX) oil company and Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering construction company have carried out trilateral analysis of the gas pipeline issue, the official said.
In his words, the matter was considered in the context of the diversification of feedstock sources and decline of import prices. Now, the gas pipeline study is completed in such a format. It is not at the level of real talks or setting up of explorations at the site, the official stressed.
The issue is about the possibility to build a 1,400-kilometre-long direct gas pipeline between Russia’s Sakhalin Island and Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture north of Tokyo. Under preliminary estimates, it may take from five to seven years for the fulfilment of this project.
Earlier, local mass media reported that the Japanese companies may invest in the construction of such a pipeline up to 400 billion yens (five billion U.S. dollars). In case of success, the cost of liquefied natural gas supplies from Russia to Japan through the pipeline will decrease manifold.
Proceeding from the existing project, a gas pipe with a 75-centimetre diameter will be laid from Sakhalin to Ibaraki prefecture on the Pacific Ocean’s bottom. The project of the kind had already been considered in the previous decades. However, it was rejected due to the environmental protection reasons.
The variant of the direct gas pipeline regained its topicality after the Fukushima-1 NPP accident in March 2011, which was followed by the shutdown of almost all electricity-generating nuclear reactors in the country.
Presently, Japan sharply raised purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The country is extremely interested in the decline of spending for the purchase of energy resources.
Lately, just purchases of Russia’s LNG are attaching the growing importance for Tokyo. About nine percent of Japan’s annual gas import accounts for Russia’s LNG. However, the LNG supplies by sea become more and more expensive for Japan. With this in mind, construction of a direct underwater gas pipeline between Russia and Japan is getting the colossal importance for Tokyo.
Japan is the world’s biggest LNG importer. In 2010, the country’s LNG purchases exceeded 70 million tonnes.