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Japan to propose global natural gas reserve to avoid shortages

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Japan plans to propose a global stockpile for natural gas, similar to the emergency reserve in the oil sector, to help avoid future shortages and stabilize prices, according to Bloomberg. 

The nation’s government will suggest that the International Energy Agency should create a gas stockpiling framework for member nations, according to people familiar with the details. The proposal will be set out during a conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, said one of the people, who asked not to be named as the details are private.

Japan’s trade ministry, which is co-organizing the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference with the IEA, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, a public holiday in Japan.

The government aims for its gas stockpile proposal to be included in the agenda for an IEA ministerial meeting in February. The IEA already requires member nations, such as the US and Japan, to have an emergency reserve of oil equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports for times of emergency, and Japan’s proposal is targeted toward creating a similar strategy for gas. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year upended gas markets around the world, triggering record-high prices and stoking worries about security of fuel supplies. At the Group of Seven summit earlier this year, Japan and Germany pushed for the inclusion of language that left the door open for public investment in gas.

European Union member states already have natural gas storage targets, but a global framework doesn’t yet exist. Storing the fuel for longer periods of time could be challenging for Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, which typically keep it in the form of liquefied natural gas that evaporates over time.