Russia’s Gazprom and Japan Far East Gas Co. Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding for the Vladivostok-LNG project that outlines their cooperation on the Russian liquefaction and export project and arrangements for marketing of its output in Japan, Gazprom said Monday.

Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller and Japan Far East COO Masanori Toyoshima met at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2013.

“At the meeting, our Japanese colleagues noted that gas demand in Japan was expected to keep growing, and we will build our plans based on this,” Miller said. “We agreed that our specialists would work with potential customers…In the short run, we will arrange an on-the-spot visit to the Far East for potential customers, where they will have an opportunity to get acquainted with the construction site of the future plant, the operation of the gas transmission system and the resource base for the project.”

Gazprom said it aims to accelerate the implementation of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects so as to retain or boost its share of the global gas market.

In January 2011, Gazprom and the Japanese government agreed to study a Vladivostok project that would serve customers in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan Far East Gas Co. Ltd. is a consortium established in December 2010 by Japanese companies Itochu Corp., Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd., Marubeni Corp., Inpex Corp. and Itochu Oil Exploration Co. Ltd.

LNG from Russia is viewed as competition to efforts in Alaska to develop a natural gas pipeline, LNG liquefaction and export project there that would serve the Asian market. Larry Persily, federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects, recently told state lawmakers that there are at least three LNG projects being considered in Russia (see Daily GPI, June 3).

Last February, Gazprom took the final investment decision on the Vladivostok-LNG project, and in March the plan for constructing the LNG plant was approved, together with a plan for establishing the project’s resource base.

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