Japanese government-backed bank to review Russian accounts following Ukraine invasion
The head of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation said on Thursday that the government-owned lender had no choice but to revisit business with Russian partners following the invasion of Ukraine.
The Japanese government, along with various domestic energy companies, has a stake in Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co. (SODECO) – a joint venture with Russian state-backed energy companies. SODECO holds a 30% stake in the Sakhalin 1 oil and gas project, and the government has granted loans to both Sakhalin 1 and its sister project Sakhalin 2, which are located in the Russian Far East.
“There is no way that we will continue to run businesses the same way as before,” JBIC Governor Tadashi Maeda told a press conference.
Maeda criticized Russia, calling its aggression against Ukraine an “outrageous use of force to change the post-war world order”.
The British oil major Shell PLC announced on Monday that it was withdrawing from the Sakhalin 2 project, its joint venture created with the Russian energy group Gazprom. Major Japanese trading houses, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp., are considering pulling out of the project.
US oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. also said it was pulling out of Sakhalin 1. Japanese energy companies and trading companies, such as Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Itochu Corp. and Marubeni Corp., also hold stakes in SODECO.
In December last year, JBIC announced that it would fund a Russian liquefied natural gas project in the Arctic. Maeda said JBIC will have to carefully consider whether to continue financing the gas project.
Meanwhile, Akio Mimura, president of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told a press conference on Thursday that when Japanese companies look to businesses in Russia, they must consider the strategy. energy from Japan.
“I don’t think Japanese companies should immediately stop and follow Western companies,” he said.
With the supply and demand for liquefied natural gas tightening around the world, he wondered if the national and other gas companies that supply natural gas from Sakhalin 2 would be able to immediately obtain sources alternatives.
The project has been one of Japan’s main natural gas supply sources. It can produce 9.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year and about 60% of its output is shipped to Japan, according to Mitsubishi’s website.
Citing France’s plans to build a new nuclear power plant, Mimura said Japan should study how Europe is handling the issue.
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