Northwest Australia’s Ichthys and Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects each have reached construction phase milestones, while the first of three LNG projects on the eastern coast of Curtis Island is close to start-up.

The milestones being reached comes at a time when the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is in Australia – and apparently it is clear the purpose is to affirm the two nations’ relationship in trading LNG.

Japan is currently looking to secure LNG supply agreements to quench the country’s thirst for power after it took the decision to investigate other methods of energy supply following the Fukushima disaster involving a nuclear power plant which was damaged when a major earthquake occurred off the coast – leading to a tsunami which caused critical meltdowns in three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has visited both China and Japan within the last year in a bid to secure supply deals. Australia is set to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG by the end of the decade with a vast number of LNG export terminals in the planning or construction stages.