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PMs agree to grow Japan-Aus coal and gas collaboration

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull have discussed continued cooperation between the two nations on coal, gas and hydrogen developments.

Turnbull visited Japan last week, where he and Abe pledged to work to develop coal and LNG markets, as Japan continues to be divided on nuclear power, while pushing for cleaner energy.

Turnbull, who referred to Abe as a “very true and dear friend of Australia,” stressed Japan’s value as a trade partner.

“The importance of trust and reliability of supply cannot be overstated here in Japan, where 94% of energy and resources and 61% of food requirements are imported,” he said. “Australia supplies a large majority of Japan’s iron ore and coking coal needs … we are Japan’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, and Japan is our biggest customer.”

The plan struck between the two sides involves using Japanese technologies to build small LNG receival sites around Asia, to be fed by Australia’s band of gas exporters.

The sides also agreed to use Japanese technology to develop more high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) coal power plants in the region, which would be ideal for Australia’s high quality coal exports.

“We commend highly the progress in the concrete cooperation in Japan-Australia innovation cooperation including brown coal, hydrogen project,” Abe said (translated). “We concur that our collaboration be further promoted.”

Quoted this week by Fairfax, Minerals Council of Australia executive director Greg Evans said the news was good for Australian coal miners.

“The construction and operation pf am expanding HELE fleet through Asia is helping to underpin coal export opportunities in north Asia and beyond – including Southeast Asia, which is a growing market for our coal with trade valued at close to $2 billion in FY17,” he was quoted as saying.

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