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Japan's Mitsubishi considers opening fuel ammonia import hub

(Reuters) - Japanese trading house Mitsubishi is considering the conversion of the Namikata terminal near Hiroshima into a fuel ammonia import hub, a company executive told a business conference in Tokyo on Friday.

Japan views ammonia, which could be also produced as a derivative of hydrogen, as a key element in its net zero transition, and is pursuing this strategy together with coal in a test project which it hopes to expand nationwide.

On Friday, Mitsubishi signed a memorandum of understanding with Switzerland-based Proman to study a potential clean ammonia production project in Lake Charles in the United States.

Takao Hariya, head of Mitsubishi's next-generation fuels and petroleum division, told the Third International Conference on Fuel Ammonia that if successful, the Lake Charles project could be built by the late 2020s and potentially supply ammonia to Japan.

Japan wants to grow domestic ammonia consumption to 3 Mmt annually by 2030.

Mitsubishi is studying the conversion of the Namikata terminal to receive ammonia from potential production projects in Lake Charles and Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico coast in the United States.

"Our vision is to establish an ammonia terminal in the early stage of the fuel ammonia market, creating a low-cost ammonia import hub that can accommodate large vessels," Hariya said.

The Corpus Christi project, which Mitsubishi earlier agreed to study together with other partners, targets first production by 2030 and should be able to produce up to 10 million tones of clean ammonia per year at its fully capacity.

Mitsubishi has said that its existing LPG storage capacity at the Namikata terminal could be converted to ammonia tanks, allowing the facility to handle around 1 million metric tones of ammonia per year by 2030.

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