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Japan diverting LNG to Europe, extra cargoes arriving in March

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Japan has decided to divert some LNG cargoes to Europe in response to requests from the United States and European Union, with the extra shipments expected to arrive in March, the country’s industry minister Koichi Hagiuda said on Wednesday.

The move comes as Europe faces tight supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as tensions in Eastern Europe remain high.

Russia and the West have been at loggerheads over Ukraine, fanning fears that energy supplies to Europe could be disrupted.

“We have decided to respond to requests from the United States and EU for sending LNG to Europe, where gas supply is tight,” Hagiuda told reporters, after separately meeting with the US and EU ambassadors to Japan earlier in the day.

The diversions will be made after ensuring Japan’s local demand will be met, and electricity generation will remain stable, he said.

Some already-scheduled LNG cargoes sent by Japanese companies will arrive in Europe in February, with more cargoes including those to be diverted to Europe on the request by the Japanese government arriving there in March, an official at the industry ministry said.

The official declined to disclose the exact number of cargoes heading to Europe, but said the number of cargoes to be delivered in March will be higher than February.

Also, the government has asked Japanese companies with LNG supplies that are not under long-term contract with a destination clause to divert as many cargoes to Europe as they can.

A destination clause mandates where a cargo can be delivered and limits buyers from reselling excess gas.

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