Natural Gas is a very important hydrocarbon resource and has a significant role especially in the Western Pacific Rim from the energy supply and demand point of view. Our energy policy aims at simultaneous achievement of economic growth, energy security and environmental protection. This region, which showed remarkable economical development in the last ten years, is expected to continue to have a high energy demand growth. The gas consumption in the region will increase to about 26.4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) [72 billion cubic feet per day (BCFPD)] in 2010, from 8.3 TCF (23 BCFPD) in 1996. This high energy demand suggests that expedition of exploration, development and utilization of natural gas in this region has a great significance in terms of expanding the supply capacity as well as maintaining a balanced energy market structure. Until recently, exploration and production activities tended to focus on crude oil, setting aside natural gas to some extent. The Western Pacific Rim is located geologically in the circum Pacific volcanic arc / mobile belts and eastern end of Eurasian plate. Therefore from a geological point of view, rift basins related to the passive margin along the Eurasian plate are favorable for giant oil and gas fields. On the other hand the volcanic arc on the mobile belt is not favorable for the occurrence of giant oil field. However, some gas fields are still expected to be found. Recently there have been large gas discoveries and big scale gas development projects in the various offshore areas of the Western Pacific Rim region. It is important to promote gas development activities in this region in terms of the expansion of supply capacity, the development of a domestic market (including IPP), and the construction of domestic and multinational pipeline networks. The possibility of the Northeast Asian pipeline network (east Siberia pipeline network) and the Trans-Asian pipeline network, which in the past had been only speculation, now appear to be taking shape as each specific project is realized. Investors from many international companies, including Japanese firms, intend to find various new business opportunities, such as in LNG market development, small gas field utilization and construction of long distance or multinational pipelines. It is believed that these activities will help not only secure energy support for Japan but also stabilize the whole the Western Pacific Rim region.
Due to its good environmental characteristics, the role of natural gas is being enhanced all over the world. To protect the global environments, our sustainable energy policy is ai.med at being environmental friendly. The International Gas Union has forecast that the global gas consumption from a level of approximately 200 BCFPD in 1994 will reach 250 BCFPD in 2000 and 300 BCFPD in 2010. On a global scale, natural gas Will account for approximately 25% of world energy supply. From the supply and demand forecast point of view, natural gas is very important and has a significant role, especially in the Western Pacific Rim region. The Western Pacific Rim region which accounts for a significant part of the world's population, has shown its fastest economic growth in the last ten years. At the same time, this region has experienced a dramatic increase in energy demand.