Japan PM in Qatar for gas talks on final leg of Gulf tour
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived Tuesday in gas-rich Qatar, as he wraps up a Gulf tour centred on energy security and clean energy cooperation with Tokyo’s main oil suppliers.
Japan is looking to work closely with Qatar to stabilise the global market for liquified natural gas (LNG), Kishida said in an interview with the official Qatar News Agency published on Monday.
He flew in to Doha — a first in 10 year for a Japanese premier — from the United Arab Emirates, and on Sunday visited Saudi Arabia where he met with the kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The last time a Japanese premier embarked on a Gulf tour was Shinzo Abe in 2020.
Kishida is scheduled to meet with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to seek cooperation “in ensuring a stable supply of LNG,” Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported.
The visit to Doha comes as Japanese companies are negotiating new long-term LNG supply contracts with Qatar, according to Bloomberg.
It said Japan’s LNG importers have not signed a contract with Qatar since 2014, and Qatari LNG deliveries to Tokyo dropped by more than 60 percent last year.
Japan’s top LNG importer, Jera, did not renew contracts that expired in 2021 for gas supply of 5.5 million tonnes per year, Bloomberg said.
China, meanwhile, has inked some of the industry’s longest-running contracts with Qatar.
Last month, Doha announced a 27-year deal to supply four million tonnes annually to the China National Petroleum Corporation.
It matches the terms of a November deal with China’s Sinopec as the longest ever seen in the industry.
China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries are the main market for Qatari gas, which has been increasingly sought by European countries too since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early last year.
By expanding activities at North Field, which has the world’s biggest natural gas reserves and extends under the Gulf into Iranian territory, Qatar expects to raise its LNG production by at least 60 percent, taking it to 126 million tonnes a year by 2027.
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