Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told his Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda that Moscow hopes to advance energy cooperation with Tokyo in areas including LNG and possible electricity supplies to the gas- and power- hungry nation, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There is no cable yet linking the two countries.

Putin’s comments, made in a telephone conversation late Friday, come after Japan’s 10 major power utilities bought an all-time high 26.16 million mt of LNG in the April-September period as they hiked gas-fired power generation to make up for a shortfall in their nuclear output.

Noda thanked Putin for Russia’s support to Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the northeast of the country on March 11, MOFA said.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said March 12 that Russia was ready to increase energy supplies, including LNG and coal, to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

In July, Russia and Japan launched government-level inaugural oil and gas talks in Moscow.

Under the framework, Tokyo and Moscow will have joint working group sessions on oil and gas affairs on a regular basis.

Noda also told Putin that Tokyo hopes to advance cooperation with Russia in a way that brings mutual benefits, MOFA said.

Noda expressed his hopes of an early realization of the planned LNG project in Vladivostok in Russia’s far east as well as progress in possible cooperation in prospective East Siberian oil and gas including the Sakhalin 3 project, MOFA added.

Japan wants to complete the study for a 10 million mt/year LNG plant near the Russian far eastern city of Vladivostok by the end of the year, Platts reported earlier.

Gazprom is speeding up work at the Kirinsky block, part of the Sakhalin-3 project, where it has already made two finds.

It expects to receive first gas from the first of these, the Kirinskoye field, in September 2012 and to reach peak production of around 4-5 Bcm/year by 2015.

Japan’s monthly LNG imports have been rising steadily year-on-year, even during the country’s offpeak demand season over April-June, as Tokyo Electric Power Company and Tohoku Electric lost more than 11 GW of nuclear capacity at their Fukushima and Onagawa facilities, respectively, due to the March earthquake and tsunami.

Source: Platts