Tokyo: Japan’s industry ministry on Wednesday complied a draft revision of the gas business law to allow the government to issue an order to restrict the usage of city gas by major companies if the supply-demand balance becomes tight.
The planned revision is aimed at developing a system to curb demand during times of emergency, as uncertainty is growing over stable procurement from overseas of liquefied natural gas, a raw material for city gas.
The draft revision was approved at the day’s meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Economy, Trade and Industry Division.
The government aims to enact the revised law at an early date after submitting the draft to the ongoing extraordinary session of the Diet, the country’s parliament, which started on Monday.
The government will issue a city gas usage restriction order if demand exceeds supply even after calling on all households and companies to save city gas voluntarily and asking major firms on a one-by-one basis to do the same.
According to the draft revision, the government will be allowed to order the minimum usage restrictions necessary if gas shortages are feared having adverse effects on the domestic economy and people’s lives.
With global competition to secure LNG intensifying during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the draft revision also includes a system to allow the government to procure LNG on behalf of private firms if the private sector finds it difficult to do this.
Under the system, the industry minister will be allowed to ask government-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. to procure LNG.
Currently, such an LNG procurement request can be made for power generation, not for city gas.