LNG Japan was formed after Nissho Iwai, having taken a 3 per cent stake in Qatar’s Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas), realised it would have to harness greater financial power to make LNG a strategic core business. At the same time, Sumitomo, one of Japan’s strongest trading houses, was looking for a way in to the LNG business. The companies joined forces in 2000 to create the 50:50 joint venture. LNG Japan has 100 employees, and with 90 per cent of the workers coming directly from Nissho Iwai, the new company is able to draw heavily on the three decades of LNG experience acquired by the trading house.

LNG Japan is active throughout the LNG value chain. It imports 15 million tonnes a year (t/y) to Japan for nine of the country’s major utilities, and handles 81 per cent of total Japanese deliveries from Indonesia. The company has taken over Nissho Iwai’s RasGas stake and, together with Itochu Corporation, the other Japanese investor in the venture, has the exclusive marketing rights for RasGas offtake contracts in Japan.

LNG Japan is also active in transporting LNG. Building on the shipping experience gained by Nissho Iwai since 1983, the firm is heavily involved in the gas transportation business, operating 16 LNG carriers with Mitsui OSK to ship cargoes primarily destined for Japanese customers.

In anticipation of the changing face of the industry, LNG Japan has established a website – www.lngoneworld.com – to facilitate the creation of a spot market. The site is intended to put buyers and sellers in contact, creating new business opportunities in the LNG industry.

LNG Japan facts

Capital $64 million

Total assets $640 million

Turnover$3,600 million

Shareholders Nissho Iwai Corporation (50 per cent),

Sumitomo Corporation (50 per cent)