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TOKYO, November 11. /TASS/. Japanese government did not make any proposals to the Russian natural gas producer Gazprom to build a gas pipeline from the island of Sakhalin to Japan, a senior official at the department for natural resources and energy of the Economics Ministry told TASS on Tuesday.
He said it in a comment on a statement that Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller made in Beijing on Monday.
“We have a proposal from the Japanese side to consider a pipeline to Hokkaido and, possibly, farther on to Tokyo and to take part in the distribution of natural gas and electric power in Japan,” Miller said. “Both projects are under consideration now and we haven’t given an answer on our part yet.”
“There have been no proposals as regards the gas pipeline from Russia to Japan on the part of the Japanese government,” the official said. “I can’t know any details of communications at the private level of course but had an issue as important as this one had really been raised, it could have been discussed at the inter-governmental level at any rate, but there were no such discussions.”
A possibility of construction of a gas pipeline from Sakhalin to Japan has been mentioned at the level of experts for quite some time already. A group of MPs in the Japanese parliament supports the project.
Expert assessments suggest that the total length of a pipeline, which would stretch from Sakhalin to Ibaraki prefecture neighboring the Greater Tokyo, could be around 1,350 km and the costs of its construction are estimated at $5 billion to $6 billion.
Japan is purchasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) at present and it is the world’s biggest importer of this type of fuel. Estimations show that up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas could be pumped from Sakhalin to Japan by a pipeline and these supplies would be equal some 17% of this country’s current consumption of LNG.
Japan stepped up the purchases of LNG sharply after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. It spent a record $ 70 billion for the purpose in 2013 — twice as much as in the previous year.