The Globe and Mail: In Japan, an LNG revolution looks to Canada
It’s winter, and the grass is struggling to take root on the roof of a cavernous new underground tank on the shores of Tokyo Bay. Workers completed the tank, with its thick insulating concrete walls and brilliant stainless steel inner liner, in October. Soon after, it accepted its first load of liquefied natural gas (LNG), chilled to -162 C.
From the ground, it’s all largely invisible: only a slight mound struggling to turn green hints at the enormous energy stored below. “Nobody finds it interesting because you can’t see the tank. It’s hidden,” says Kunijiro Taguchi, a lifetime employee of Tokyo Gas Co Ltd. who now serves as an energetic corporate tour guide.
But in world energy markets, this addition to the Tokyo Gas Ohgishima LNG Terminal – the largest tank of its kind – is an unambiguous signpost of the broad energy transformation under way in Japan. Nearly three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is only part-way through the work of preparing for a rush of new overseas energy imports, one that stands to see tankers filled with Canadian LNG among the 69 ships each year that pour out their cargoes at Ohgishima.
In fact, for the Japanese government and one of the country’s biggest gas buyers, Canada is emerging as an increasingly favoured source for future energy. MORE