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Chubu-Toho JV to develop, expand LNG terminals

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 28 -- Japan's Chubu Electric Power Co. and Toho Gas Co. plan to expand their LNG facilities by constructing two natural gas pipelines and further developing the jointly owned Chita LNG import terminal in Aichi prefecture.

To maintain a steady LNG supply for Japan, especially from Qatar, Chubu and Toho will build the pipelines to connect Chita terminal to Chubu's Kawagoe thermal power plant and to Toho's regasification plant. The pipelines are scheduled for completion in 2013.

The Chita terminal, one of the largest in Japan, receives about 6.5 million tonnes/year of LNG in about 110 tankers. By 2009, the JV plans to refit and expand the terminal to receive tankers that can carry 200,000 cu m of LNG. Chita currently receives vessels with capacities of as much as 170,000 cu m of LNG.

Hirotaka Iwase, spokesman for Chubu Electric, said more suppliers are using larger-scaled vessels, and the ability to accept the new ships will contribute to securing a stable LNG supply.

In addition to the changes at Chita, Chubu Electric has separate plans to refit by 2010 another LNG terminal near the Kawagoe thermal power plant to accept tankers that can carry as much as 200,000 cu m of LNG.

LNG supplies could come primarily from Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. (Qatargas), which has been a main supplier to Chubu since December 1996 when its first LNG cargo departed Ras Laffan and was delivered to the Kawagoe terminal.

In June, Qatargas said that by 2010 it would add more than 50 tankers, each capable of carrying more than 200,000 cu m of LNG to markets in Asia, the US, and Europe.

Qatargas is a joint venture of five shareholders: Qatar General Petroleum Corp. 65%, Total SA 10%, Mobil Qatar Gas Inc. 10%, and Japan's Mitsui & Co. Ltd. 7.5%, and Marubeni Corp. 7.5%.

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