Tokyo Gas aims for growth with Southeast Asia strategy
Faced with competition at home, Japan’s top gas provider has launched an aggressive growth strategy that belies its traditional, conservative image.
Tokyo Gas’ grand plan is to secure stakes in shale gas projects in North America and export the fuel to Southeast Asia, where it is laying groundwork by expanding its presence in countries including Vietnam and Indonesia.
In Vietnam, the company has signed partnership deals with local companies to construct a liquefied natural gas terminal facility. It also plans to work on developing gas delivery infrastructure.
Leading the local effort is Yuichi Yasaki, who is tasked to negotiate with a local partner.
The 29-year-old at the company’s Hanoi office vividly remembers an April meeting where an executive from state-owned PetroVietnam Gas asked if Tokyo Gas was interested in setting up a joint venture.
“We would like to discuss the possibility as soon as possible” was all he managed to say in response, but he recalls his hands were shaking with excitement.
Yasaki was transferred to the Vietnamese capital when the local office opened in February 2015. He travels between there and HochiMinn City several times a week in efforts to establish better connections with PetroVietnam Gas managers through joint work, such as a survey on gas demand.
This past July, his work paid off in the form of a new joint venture, LNG Vietnam. A major construction company, Bitexco Group of Companies, is also involved. The venture’s initial plan is to participate in a project in Southern Vietnam to construct the country’s first LNG terminal that can receive gas brought in by ship.
Vietnam’s LNG production has long satisfied its domestic demand, but with its economy growing rapidly, the country now seeks to boost imports to satisfy a greater appetite.