Global energy consumption is expected to grow in the coming years, and the demand level forecast for 2030 is 1.27 times of what the level was in 2011. Economic growth is expected to continue in China, India, and other emerging countries, particularly those in Asia, and such growth will drive a further rise in demand for oil, coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Similarly, Japan saw a sharp rise in LNG imports following the halt of operations of nuclear power stations after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, thereby increasing the country's reliance on thermal power generation.
One of Marubeni's top goals is to help solve global energy issues. The Company began its energy business in the 1950s with its crude oil and petroleum products business, and in 1985 became the first Japanese company to participate in an LNG project in Qatar. Today, in addition to Qatar we are also participating in LNG projects in Equatorial Guinea, Peru, and Papua New Guinea, and are playing an important role in securing a stable and long-term supply of energy resources for consuming countries. Meanwhile, Marubeni is engaged in the trading and marketing of LNG. The Company is importing LNG to Japan and undertaking offshore trading by utilizing its trade infrastructure, such as LNG vessels, through business offices all over the world.
Looking ahead, Marubeni is committed to responding flexibly to the needs of both suppliers and consumers, such as in Japan and other parts of Asia, to contribute to the energy security and economic growth of all related countries. In Japan, we are coping with changes in the energy supply-demand balance following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and are working on securing a stable supply of LNG.
The strength of Marubeni's energy businesses can be found in its global operations that are centered on the LNG project in Qatar, the world's leading producer of LNG with an annual production volume of 77 million tons, roughly one-third of global LNG production. After participating in Qatar's first LNG project, we have been working to develop an LNG value chain that encompasses development, production, financing, transportation, and marketing. Through the experience, expertise, technologies, networks, and, of course, gaining reliability by the project partners and customers through the project, we are currently participating in various LNG projects around the world. At the same time, Marubeni has strength in its supply capability by utilizing its trading functions such as logistics and marketing.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is produced by cooling natural gas, predominantly methane, to -162˚C. After liquefied, it takes about 1/600th of the volume of its gaseous state, enabling a large volume of gas to be stored and shipped efficiently. Liquefaction of LNG is generally done in gas producing countries, such as Qatar, Australia, and Malaysia. LNG is then transported to consumers like Japan and Korea using specialized carriers. When the LNG has reached its location, it is then regasified, reverting it to its gaseous state. Primarily used for generation purposes and supplied in the form of city gas, LNG provides highly efficient energy, and relatively low CO2 emissions when burned, meaning that LNG is also a form of clean energy.
Energy demand is expected to grow in conjunction with economic development in emerging countries, and countries worldwide are therefore strategically diversifying their energy supply sources. Also, considering the environmental benefits of LNG, it is almost guaranteed that global gas demand will continue to grow in the coming years. Currently, Marubeni's LNGrelated businesses boast a network of 21 bases in 15 countries, including producing countries such as Qatar and Peru as well as consuming countries such as Japan and China. In addition to pursuing ongoing growth in its own businesses, Marubeni believes its LNG businesses can also help resolve social issues faced around the world. In producing countries, our LNG businesses create employment opportunities, help transmit technologies, and foster more capable workers. Meanwhile, in consuming countries we are contributing to the long-term, stable supply of energy while at the same time advancing industrial and economic development and also preserving the environment.
LNG demand is expected to grow in the coming years. However, this hike in demand will not only be seen in consuming countries such as China and India, where LNG demand is fostered by population growth and economic development. We also anticipate LNG demand to be seen in traditional oil-producing countries and gas-producing countries, which will require the introduction of LNG in order to meet their robust domestic energy demand growth. At the same time, the number of LNG consumers is constantly increasing, as represented by the shift to power generation that relies more heavily on natural gas-fired power, such as in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.
In order to meet increasing demand, Marubeni is working to participate in new LNG projects in Russia, North America, and East Africa, in addition to existing projects in Qatar, Equatorial Guinea, Peru, and Papua New Guinea.
At the same time, Marubeni is engaged in expanding its trading functions, such as logistics and marketing, by utilizing intelligence from business offices all over the world. We regard our mission as contributing to the economic development of consuming countries through the expansion of our trading businesses.
Furthermore, we aim to add a new element of value to our LNG businesses by bundling all functions needed for LNG operations. In this endeavor, we will leverage the Transportation Machinery Division's fleet of 14 LNG carriers. We will also utilize the Plant Division's floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs). These floating facilities are positioned offshore of consuming regions, where they receive shipments of LNG transported by carriers from producing regions, conduct regasification on-the-spot, and then pipe the resulting natural gas to the consumer. We also aim to supply LNG to the Chemicals Division, Power Projects & Infrastructure Division, and other divisions so that we will create collective capabilities which can only be realized by a general trading company and that will contribute to Marubeni's sustainable growth.