TOKYO Jan 30 Japan's Toho Gas Co has
signed a 20-year contract to buy about 300,000 tonnes of U.S.
Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually from trader Mitsui
& Co when the project starts production, the city-gas
provider said on Thursday.
LNG imports by Japan, the world's top buyer of the
super-cooled fuel, have jumped since the Fukushima nuclear
disaster and utilities are looking to boost supplies from North
America to diversify supply sources and lower prices.
Sempra Energy, which is developing the
Louisiana-based Cameron LNG project, is waiting on permits for
construction, and to export the gas to countries with which the
United States does not have a free trade agreement, like Japan.
Sempra hopes to make a final investment decision to build
the Cameron plant, which Mitsui has export rights to, later this
year and begin operations by the end of the decade, pending
The United States is producing record amounts of natural gas
thanks to a drilling boom and is taking steps to become a major
export hub by pitching ahead of rivals in Australia and East
Africa for Asian buyers even before projects begin construction.