Japan to supply gas to Europe as Russian gas supplies threaten to be disrupted as tensions over Ukraine escalate. The government announced this on Wednesday. Japan is currently diverting several tankers carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.
The ships would deliver LNG to Japan, but are now on their way to Europe, where they are expected to arrive this month, said Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda. Additional ships would be sent to Europe in March.
The minister did not provide details on the volumes to be delivered and sold. However, he emphasized that Japan must have sufficient LNG before it is delivered to Europe.
Japan is one of the largest importers of LNG. However, the country itself has hardly any natural energy sources and is therefore very dependent on the import of oil and gas. Japan is also currently having a hard time importing enough LNG itself now that it is exceptionally cold, so there may not be much gas left to send to Europe. However, Hagiuda indicates that it wants to respond to the request from the United States and the European Union to supply gas to Europe.
Washington and Brussels are concerned that Russia will turn off the gas tap to Europe amid an escalation of the conflict over Ukraine. Russia accounts for about 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas supply, and several pipelines run through Ukraine.