Russia and Japan are poised to seal an agreement this weekend that could lead to a liquefied-natural-gas shipping terminal in this far eastern city, in the latest sign of how Japan’s heightened quest for energy is shaping its relations with the rest of the world.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda are expected to give their formal backing to a $13 billion terminal in Vladivostok that will export LNG to Japan. Actual construction of the terminal will depend on reaching an agreement on the price of the gas to be shipped. If all goes smoothly, the terminal should be completed by around 2018, and will produce 10 million tons of LNG a year, equivalent to about 12% of Japan’s annual imports, according to Itochu Corp., a main Japanese partner in the joint venture. Businesses from the two countries are floating even more ambitious ideas to make Vladivostok a hub for Russian energy exports to Japan by building a pipeline that would send the fuel directly to Japanese shores.