TOKYO, June 22 (Reuters) - A consortium led by Japanese trading house Itochu Corp is likely to agree as early as Saturday to build an LNG plant in Russia with Gazprom , the Nikkei newspaper reported, to meet Japan's growing energy needs.
The Japanese group and Russia's top energy producer will build the liquefied natural gas plant in Vladivostok with annual capacity of around 15 million tonnes, the paper said, without citing sources.
Japan's LNG imports have soared since 2011 when the Fukushima nuclear crisis drove the country to dramatically cut its reliance on nuclear power, so the project could help Japanese electricity companies.
The project also benefits Gazprom, as it gains new access to potential long-term customers.
The consortium, which is called Japan Far East Gas Co, totals five firms, including Itochu, Japan Petroleum Exploration and Marubeni Corp, the Nikkei said.