UPDATE 1-Chubu Electric to buy LNG from Qatar for 15 yrs from 2013
* Kansai Elec, Tokyo Elec make similar deals with Qatar
* Chubu declines to comment on pricing of new contract (Adds details)
TOKYO Oct 12 (Reuters) - Chubu Electric Power Co, Japan's third-biggest power utility, has signed a second long-term contract to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its main supplier Qatargas for 15 years from 2013 to ensure stable supplies.
Chubu Electric relies heavily on gas-fired power plants to generate electricity. The company said it will buy 1 million tonnes of LNG per year from Qatargas between 2013 and 2017 and 700,000 tonnes per year between 2018 and 2028.
Chubu's first long-term contract with Qatargas sees it importing 4 million tonnes of LNG a year from 1997 to 2021, a company spokesman said.
Earlier this year, Japan's biggest power utilities, Tokyo Electric Power Co and Kansai Electric Power Co signed similar long-term contracts with Qatar.
Currently, all but two of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors remain offline while the newly launched nuclear regulator is compiling safety standards to ease public concerns after last year's Fukushima disaster.
Chubu shut its only nuclear facility, the 3,617 megawatt Hamaoka plant, in a quake-prone area in May 2011 after a government request.
The pricing of the new contract will be decided after negotiations with Qatargas, the spokesman said, without giving details.
Traditionally, the pricing of LNG contracts in Asia is linked to oil prices, a factor which drove most utilities to post losses in the past financial year.
Chubu bought 8.33 million tonnes of Qatari LNG in the year that ended in March, which accounted for 63 percent of its total LNG imports, the company spokesman said.
The share of Qatari origin stood at 52 percent out of Chubu's total LNG imports of 10.45 million tonnes in the year that ended in March 2011, when the Hamaoka plant was online.
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; editing by Miral Fahmy)
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