TOKYO, May 28 (RIA Novosti), Ksenia Naka – In an attempt to cut Japan's energy costs after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a group of 33 Japanese lawmakers will soon submit a project for review to build a gas pipeline between Japan and Russia’s Sakhalin Island, project leader Naokazu Takemoto told Bloomberg on Wednesday.
The construction of the 1350-kilometer pipeline from the most southern point of Sakhalin to Hokkaido and Honshu Islands, ending 150 kilometers away from Tokyo, could take 5 years and cost 600 million yen ($6 billion), according to the group's estimates.
The plan was discussed 10 years ago, but energy companies expressed little interest until the country faced the need for alternative energy sources after most of its nuclear reactors were put on stand-by following the disaster at the Fukushima plant.
This time, the plan will be submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in June, ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit in the fall, Takemoto said.
The lawmakers expect that the pipeline would supply up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year, which would satisfy 20 percent of Japan's demand. The new gas supply would also allow a cut in liquefied natural gas imports.
"The price of natural gas will be twice as low as the price of liquefied gas," Takemoto said in the interview.
Earlier this month, during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Shanghai, Russian gas exporting monopoly Gazprom signed a $400-billion deal with China's CNPC to supply 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year.