Within 10 years, all of Japan’s current contracts for LNG from Russia will expire. The longest of these, set for 24 years, will end during 2031, though volumes will start to drop five years prior to that. Unless the supply deals are renewed.
How Japan proceeds regarding continued ownership of its Russian LNG assets is a complex issue. There currently isn’t a solution, and bar any major agitations either from allies or the Kremlin, it’s not a situation that will find resolution any time soon.
Japan needs a Plan B should Russian LNG supplies stop becoming an option either in the short or the longer term. The political action of recent months suggests that this Plan B amounts to sponsoring growth in LNG exports from the U.S. An accident at one of the key U.S. LNG export hubs, however, has put a dent in that plan. Neither is it the first major setback Japan has received in recent years when seeking new volumes of LNG from around the world.
Strategists in Tokyo know that Plans C, D and probably several others are needed if Japan is to enjoy the luxury of options around its LNG future and to safeguard the country’s energy security.