Canadian PM cool to meeting Japan’s LNG needs
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau seemed cool to the idea of contributing to Japan’s future natural gas needs, instead pushing Canada’s cleantech ambitions forward in meetings January 12 with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida.
Ahead of a joint news conference with Trudeau and his Japanese counterpart, some of Kishida’s staff indicated to reporters that the island nation has “high expectations” that Canada can help supply Japan with LNG, most immediately from the 14mn metric tons/year LNG Canada terminal, set to begin exporting to Asia in 2025.
Japan’s Mitsubishi holds a 15% interest in the LNG Canada consortium through its subsidiary, Diamond LNG Canada Partnership.
According to a CTV News report, Kishida told a luncheon audience in Ottawa that LNG will play a “crucial role” in Japan’s energy transition, and the LNG Canada terminal – and others under development on the country’s west coast – are among the ways Canada can help in that transition.
But at the news conference, Trudeau appeared cool to the idea of exporting LNG, instead suggesting that as the world is looking to decarbonise, Canada needs to be prepared to meet those demands.
Last summer, during a state visit by German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Trudeau said a business case for LNG exports to Europe “could not be made” and suggested instead Germany look to green hydrogen exports from a proposed Newfoundland project still several years away from fruition.
On January 11, Alberta premier Danielle Smith sent a letter to Trudeau urging him to stress her province’s “strong desire” to supply affordable, reliable and sustainable energy – including LNG – to Japan.
“Japan is the second largest global importer of LNG, and nearly 10% of its total LNG imports in 2021 originated from Russia, presenting significant challenges given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine,” Smith wrote in her letter. “Alberta is proud to be one of the most responsible producers of oil and gas globally and we can be the supplier of choice for our global allies. Our unparalleled energy resources, commitment to emissions reduction and historical connections with Japan position us to be a key contributor to Japan’s efforts to diversify its LNG supply to one that is responsibly developed by a key ally.”
As Canada’s provinces – like Alberta – are the owners and stewards of natural resources within their boundaries, it’s only logical that any discussions regarding potential energy exports to Japan would need to fully involve impacted provinces.
“Alberta would be pleased to help the federal government develop the business case and participate in the development of (a memorandum of understanding) with Japan for the increased export of clean Albertan LNG,” Smith’s letter concluded.