TOKYO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - A joint venture of Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co and Canadian Altagas Ltd may begin exports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Canada in 2015, a year ahead of schedule, the head of Idemitsu said on Friday.
The 50:50 venture had initially targeted LPG exports by 2016 when its own LPG export base would be ready, but exports could be moved forward a year by taking advantage of existing facilities of other firms, Idemitsu President Takashi Tsukioka told reporters.
Tsukioka's comments came after an announcement the Idemitsu-Altagas venture would take a two-thirds stake in unlisted Canadian firm Petrogas Energy to utilise its wide logistics network in North America for gas exports.
A plan to export 2 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 2017 remains.
Idemitsu, which currently has no upstream stakes in North America, is also considering buying a gas field stake most likely in Canada, Tsukioka added.
Idemitsu, which is also leading a project to build a refinery in Vietnam, has been focusing on overseas opportunities to make up for a gradual fall in oil demand as its domestic market matures.