Shell plc’s decarbonization agreement with two Japanese liquefied natural gas (LNG) customers could increase the use of low-carbon alternatives within the decade.

Tokyo Gas Co. and Osaka Gas Co. have signed a nonbinding framework with Shell’s Singapore-based subsidiary to consider natural gas and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) projects.

Each Japanese company plans to replace 1% of distributed gas with synthetic gas, or syngas, made from biomethane by 2030. The changes could result in a combined 140 million cubic meters of biomass gas being distributed in about 10 years. Both companies have set goals to meet Japan’s timeline for carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Tokyo Gas’ Kentaro Kimoto, senior managing executive officer, said those plans hinge on finding partners like Shell to create a sufficient supply line for Japan.

“Based on the framework of this agreement, we will continue to develop solutions to achieve a decarbonized society, including studying the possibility of a demonstration project that will contribute to the establishment of a synthetic gas supply chain,” Kimoto said.

Shell has previously highlighted its priorities in expanding the production of natural gas made from biomass. Tokyo Gas has been marketing carbon-offset gas to its customers for some time.

Japan is one of the world’s largest importers of LNG. It plans to increase the share of its power generated by renewables to 22-24% by 2030  from 11% in 2013. It has also been renewing plans to restart nuclear generation after vowing to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports.