LNG Deals May Forge Japan’s Stance on Russian Energy

March 27, 2024|LNG / Geopolitics

Within about a year, Japan will likely make decisions that will dictate the nature of its energy ties with Russia over the coming decades.

Talks over the future status of a small-scale Russia-Japan LNG contract will have to begin in 2025, at the latest. How those negotiations proceed will impact developments around a number of LNG contracts two years further along, and subsequent deals.

In total, the status of close to 10% of Japan’s imports of the super-chilled fuel is at stake, with decisions on the majority of the volume due well before the end of this decade. What’s more, the two countries are connected via the Arctic LNG 2 project in northern Russia, which has recently been hit by stringent U.S. sanctions, also nullifying Tokyo’s option to tap into those volumes.

After Russia’s incursion into Ukraine two years ago, Japan was quick to join its G7 allies in assigning strict sanctions on trade with the northern neighbor. Energy was the main exception due the value that Russian oil, coal, and most importantly, LNG, have for Japan. Still, Prime Minister Kishida vowed to minimize the energy relationship over time.

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