LNG consumer states calls for price reviews at int'l conference

Japan and other countries consuming liquefied natural gas called for a price review on Tuesday as government and private-sector officials from 50 economies gathered in Tokyo for a conference on the natural resource.

At the opening of the second LNG Producer-Consumer Conference, Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the mounting cost of importing LNG after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident has become a burden on the Japanese economy.

LNG prices in Asia are higher than those in Europe and North America as the cost in Asia is linked to crude oil prices under long-term contracts. Japan, the largest LNG importer in the world, will work with India and other countries to lower LNG prices, Motegi said.

During the morning session, India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily said Asian consumer countries have been charged unreasonable prices, while Mohamed Sada, the energy minister of Qatar, the largest LNG producer, said producer countries cannot accept the risks of price fluctuations.

Members at the gathering also discussed changes in the LNG market after the United States decided in May to allow shale gas exports to countries including Japan.

During the previous round of talks held in September last year, some 600 people from about 30 economies participated. Japan said at the time it would set up a futures trading market for LNG.

LNG, made by cooling natural gas, has drawn attention as an important energy source in Japan in relation to the discussion on ending nuclear power generation.