Japanese utility conglomerate Jera Co., the largest natural gas buyer in the world, agreed Tuesday to purchase up to 1.2 million metric tons/year (mmty), or 155 MMcf/d, from a partner in the LNG Canada export terminal underway in British Columbia (BC).

Jera in a heads of agreement (HOA) contracted for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply from Diamond Gas International Pte. Ltd., an affiliate of LNG Canada partner Mitsubishi Corp. for 15 years beginning in 2024. Jera said the HOA is its first for Canadian LNG supply.

Participants in LNG Canada, sited on the northern Pacific coast at Kitimat, market shares of exports that match their ownership. Shell Canada Ltd. is operator with a 40% stake. Petronas has a 25% stake, Mitsubishi and PetroChina each hold 15%, and Korea Gas Corp. (Kogas) has 5%.

LNG Canada is the only gas export terminal now underway in Canada.

As the supply agency for Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, Jera stands out as the world’s biggest LNG customer, with eight terminals importing 35.2 mmty, or 4.6 Bcf/d.

Announced customers to date for the BC exports also include the Vitol international trading house, Tokyo Gas, Toho Gas and Kogas.

LNG Canada’s plans call for increasing the terminal’s initial export capacity of 6.5 mmty, or 845 MMcf/d, in stages to 26 mmty (3.4 Bcf/d), on a schedule that depends on future market conditions.

Jera described the Canadian purchasing commitment as a step to diversify and stabilize gas supplies and costs for Japan. The Tokyo firm currently sources LNG from 17 countries for an array of operations that include 25 thermal power stations.