Qatargas chairman and Qatar Petroleum (QP) president and chief executive Saad Sherida al-Kaabi has wrapped up a two-day visit to Japan to discuss future co-operation in LNG trade with the country’s energy majors.
Mr al-Kaabi and senior officials from Qatargas and QP officials met their counterparts from JERA, the company formed in spring 2015 that has overtaken South Korea’s Kogas as the world’s largest importer of LNG.
Qatar, the world’s leading producer of LNG last year, supplied 32 per cent of global volumes, exporting 76.8 million tonnes. Japan, which hitherto favoured long-term supply contracts, is its single largest market.
The JERA talks are particularly significant as the joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) and Chubu Electric plans to cut the volumes it buys under long-term contracts, from 34.5 million tonnes a year (mta) to 20 mta by 2030.
Since 1997, Qatargas has delivered more than 2,500 cargoes to buyers in Japan. However, Qatar must defend its market share from Australia and from new exporter the US, a significant proportion of whose LNG will come destination-free.
The Qatari delegation met officials from Chubu Electric, Tepco, Kansai Electric, Tohoku Electric, Chiyoda, Idemitsu, Mitsui, Mitsui & CO, Cosmo Oil, LNG Japan, Marubeni and Itochu. It also met financiers from Bank of Tokyo, Mitsubishi UFJ and Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) and shipping companies Mitsui OSK Line, NYK Line, K Line and Iino.
Mr al-Kaabi said: “For us in Qatar, we have watched the volatility that has characterised the energy market in the past two years… Throughout this time, we have never lost sight of the need to maintain and enhance our longstanding relationships with our valued customers and partners.”