|Mr. Laszlo Varro 's Presentation at the Japan Gas Association
|Mr. Varro asserted that, while global production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) declined over the last two years and the supply tightened, the situation is expected to gradually improve for two reasons. The first reason is the surprising potential for expanded production of natural gas and reduction of related costs in North America. There, preparations are now being made to launch projects for LNG export in which many Japanese companies are involved. The second reason is the supply capacity in Australia, which is in the process of increasing along with the huge investments being made in projects. He regarded the diversification of LNG suppliers and increasing of transactions between LNG markets as positive progress.
Next, Mr. Varro gave high marks to the Japanese industry for its efforts to form a highly competitive gas market. He nevertheless made a few observations based on cases of success in Europe. One was that a reduction of LNG prices requires not only competition between LNG contracts but also with other forms of energy. Another was that such competition results in the growth of strong markets, which leads to a decrease in natural gas prices. In addition, he said he did not foresee a decline in the demand for natural gas in Japan from the current level for the time being. The natural gas demand is bound up with the issue of restarting nuclear power stations, which involves very complex social and political considerations. For this reason, it is hard for the IEA as well to provide a solid outlook for the future. Mr. Varro stated that, to venture a forecast resting on the most likely assumptions, nuclear power stations would be restarted, and that the first thermal power plants to be shut down as a result would be those fueled with oil, which have higher costs; those fueled with natural gas would remain in operation, in his view. He also brought up the huge difference among Japan, the United States, and Europe in respect of natural gas prices, which has become a major concern in Japan. He said that, according to the gas price convergence case in the agency's World Energy Outlook 2013, there are two prerequisites for the emergence of a world market in the true sense. One is an increase in liquefaction capacity driven by massive investment in liquefaction facilities in North America. The other is deployment of competition-oriented policies in Asia, to promote gas liberalization and the rise of competitive markets. The increase in gas export from North America would result in a steep decrease in import prices in Japan. He said that, as a consequence, Japan could possibly save about 15 billion dollars a year.
The following link connects to the presentation by Mr. Varro:
>>> "The IEA outlook for gas"
|Seventh Nationwide Family Cooking Contest
The WithGas Club∗ held the Seventh "WithGas: Nationwide Family Cooking Contest - Sharpening the Five Senses by Cooking over a Flame" finals at the Tokyo Gas showroom in Shinjuku, Tokyo on January 26. A total of 36,356 families competed in this year's contest, exceeding the previous record of 32,618 families set last year. At the Tokyo finals, the 14 parent-child teams who prevailed in the preliminary rounds held in nine districts around Japan displayed their cooking skills for the top prize. This year's contest was won by the Yoshinaga mother-and-daughter team, who prepared a healthy meal cooked with rice bran, accenting the culinary tradition and local products of the northern Kyushu area.
Along with the flavor and appearance of the cuisine, the Nationwide Family Cooking Contest emphasized ideal ways of preparing food using gas cooking appliances as well as parent-child teamwork. The contest has become an opportunity for participants to learn about cooking and dietary education in a fun and casual manner. JGA strongly supports the Nationwide Family Cooking Contest as a contribution to society through dietary education activities, and as an opportunity for promoting residential gas uses.
∗The WithGas Club is a consortium founded by four industries involved with the living environment (housing builders, kitchen/bath manufacturers, gas appliance manufactures, and LPG/city gas utilities) to propose better housing and lifestyles. JGA is a member.
|ENEX (energy and environment exhibition) 2014 / Smart Energy Japan 2014
|In the "smart community" category, the booth took up approaches in the Tamachi Station area in Tokyo's Minato Ward. In this district, the ward authorities, Energy Advance Co., Tokyo Gas Co., and other parties are working together to build a community that is low in CO2 emissions and highly resistant to disaster. More specifically, the key agenda are the construction of a network for thermal energy, electrical power, and information; extensive use of renewable energy and unused energy; and a self-sufficient, high-efficiency energy supply. The major means to this end is installation of cogeneration (CHP) systems for efficient supply of thermal energy and power. The industry is working on enhancing energy security, through the construction of systems offering continuous supply of thermal energy to hospitals and power to public facilities thanks to cogeneration (CHP) systems, even in the event of grid power outages. In addition, it is developing the Smart Energy Networks Energy Management Systems (SENEMS) applying information-communication technology (ICT) for integrated management and control of the energy supply and demand. In these systems, the collection and analysis of data on items such as outside atmosphere, building energy use and the operating status of heat source units provides footing for optimal control of air conditioners and other equipment in real time. Besides assisting reduction of CO2 emissions in the whole area, these systems promote visualization of the status of energy use and smart setups for using energy.
One of the cases outlined in the "smart lifestyle" category was NEXT21, an Osaka Gas project for experimental collective housing. This project deals with both energy conservation and environmental preservation in urban housing. It is currently in its fourth phase, and is aimed at proving next-generation energy systems needed for the construction of "smart" condominium complexes. To this end, it is testing systems and technologies for attaining even higher levels of energy conservation and CO2 emission reduction without sacrificing energy self-sufficiency. The tasks here include interchange of electrical power and thermal energy between housing units using residential fuel cells (solid oxide fuel cell) as an advanced use of gas, on-demand response capabilities to relieve any tightness in the power supply, construction of stand-alone systems for self-sufficient supply during outages, and full use of renewable energies.
In the "smart buildings" category, the booth presented Tokyo Gas's "Raku-Sho-BEMS." This is a system that remotely monitors equipment and energy use at customer premises, and supports efforts to save energy and electricity. It enables energy conservation through optimal control of the operation of both electrical equipment (such as air conditioners, lighting, and ventilation) and gas equipment (such as gas heat pumps and cogeneration (CHP) systems) mainly in medium- or small-scale facilities for commercial or business use. It also makes hourly forecasts of the amount of power and gas use based on the weather forecast for the next hour and data for past energy use by the customer, and visually displays these forecasts. This feature encourages further energy- and power-saving behavior by the customer.
|City Gas Sales for the Full Year 2013 (Jan.-Dec.)
Gas sales by Japanese gas utilities (209 utilities nationwide) in 2013 (January through December) were 36,263 million m3 (41.8605MJ/m3 equivalent), down by 1.2% from 2012.
In addition, December 2013 gas sales totaled 3,212 million m3 (41.8605 MJ/m3 equivalent), down 4.2% year-on-year.
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The Japan Gas Association
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Tokyo 105-0001, Japan
Tel: 81-3-3502-0116; Fax: 81-3-3502-0013