Will LNG remain a key energy source for Japan?
Japan imported 8.3 million tonnes of LNG in January, an increase of 1.06 million tonnes compared to the previous year. The data, released by the Japanese Ministry of Finance, also reveals that the amount the country pays for LNG imports had increased by 6.7 percent since 2015.
Japan is one of the largest LNG importers in the world and it is expected that gas and LNG will continue to remain a key energy source in the future. The nation’s reliance on LNG rose in 2011 following the closure of the country’s nuclear reactors, and as these latest figures show, has continued to increase since then.
Ahead of next month’s Gastech Exhibition & Conference in Tokyo, Koichi Wada, Division COO, Natural Gas Business Division at Mitsubishi said: “Natural gas has an advantage from environmental and supply-diversification perspectives and could compensate if the targets of other fuels are not achieved. In this context, we see that natural gas could potentially have a higher share in the mix target of 2030 and the trend might continue until 2040.”
The Paris Agreement, which calls for governments to reduce their greenhouse emissions, will transform the future of the Japanese energy mix. Whilst renewable energies will account for a certain percentage in the energy mix throughout the world. The current shortcomings around operability will mean that renewable energies will be unable to supply all energy needs. According to analysts, Eclipse, Japan’s total LNG demand is predicted to stand at 77 million tonnes by 2020.
Gavin Sutcliffe, Head of Content at Gastech organise, dmg events Global Energy, added: “As a signatory of the Paris Agreement, Japan needs to quickly reprioritise its energy policy. Whilst the nation’s energy sector has remained largely unchanged over the past few decades, we are expecting to see significant shifts in the composition of the country’s energy mix in the near future, with a marked preference for LNG and gas.”
Japanese energy companies are continuing to invest in the LNG and gas aspects of their businesses. Mitsubishi recently commissioned the PT Dinggi Senoro LNG (DSLNG) project, demonstration that gas will continue to play a significant role.
Sutcliffe said: “We are expecting to see Japanese energy companies engaging in the development of prime assets, as well as exploring and cultivating new demand in emerging countries.”
Japan will play host to this year’s edition of the Gastech Exhibition and Conference. Hosted by Mitsubushi Corporation and nine of the country’s biggest energy companies: JERA, Mitsui & Co., Tokyo Gas, INPEX Corporation, ITOCHU Corporation, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd (JAPEX), JX Nippon Oil & Energy, Marubeni Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation.
Gastech 2017 will take place over four days from April 4th to 7th in Tokyo, Japan. It promises to bring together top global chiefs, energy experts and decision-makers to explore the key topics affecting the industry.
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.