(EnergyAsia, December 12 2013, Thursday) — Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (Japex) has announced plans to invest 60-billion yen in a new terminal to import and store liquefied natural gas (LNG) at Soma Port in Fukushima Prefecture still struggling to recover from the earthquake-tsunami devastation of March 2011. (US$1=102 yen).

Japex said it has made a final investment decision (FID) to build an LNG receiving terminal in the port’s Shinchi town and a new pipeline to link the terminal to the company’s main pipeline by the first quarter of 2018.

The new project will tie in with Japex’s decision last April to acquire a 10% stake in a natural gas development and production project in Canada’s British Columbia province led by Malaysia’s state energy firm Petronas.

A Petronas subsidiary will operate the Pacific NorthWest LNG project that will produce and pipe natural gas to a proposed LNG terminal near the Port of Prince Rupert for export, mostly to Asian markets.

The export plant is due for completion by the end of 2018. Japex has committed to lift 10% or 1.2 million tons of LNG from the 12 million tons per year plant.
In Japan, Japex has long been supplying natural gas produced in Niigata, Yamagata and Akita prefectures and imported from abroad to users who are tapped into the Niigata-Sendai and Shiroishi-Koriyama pipelines. JAPEX has also been supplying LNG to users through satellite stations to fuel freight cars and tank trucks.