The Fukushima gas power plant is a 1.18GW combined-cycle facility located in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. Image courtesy of MITSUI & CO.
The Fukushima gas power plant is expected to achieve full capacity in 2020. Image courtesy of Fukushima Gas Power.
The Fukushima gas power plant utilises liquified natural gas from the Soma LNG terminal. Image courtesy of Fukushima Gas Power.

The Fukushima gas-fired power plant, also known as the Soma Port natural gas power station, is a 1,180MW combined-cycle power project located in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan.

The project is being developed by Fukushima Gas Power Company, a joint venture comprising  Japan Petroleum Exploration Company ( JAPEX, 33%), Mitsui & Company (29%), Osaka Gas Company (20%),  Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company (9%) and Hokkaido Electric Power, (9%).

The special-purpose Fukushima Gas Power Company was established in April 2015 with JAPEX, Mitsui, and Osaka Gas as the initial investors. Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) and Hokkaido Electric Power joined the consortium in October 2016.

The environmental impact assessment was completed in July 2016, while the construction works on the project were started in October 2017.

The first generating unit of the facility was commissioned in December 2019 and brought into commercial operations in April 2020, while the second unit is scheduled for the start of commercial operations in the second half of 2020.

Location and site details

The Fukushima gas-fired power generation facility is located on 10ha-site at the No. 4 warf of Soma Port in the Shinchi town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The JAPEX Soma LNG import terminal is located in the close vicinity of the plant site.

Fukushima gas-fired power project background

The Fukushima gas-fired power plant is developed as a low environmental impact energy project under the initiative for the reconstruction and new development of industry and regeneration of the cities along the coastal area of Fukushima Prefecture post the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

The project was undertaken as part of the Fukushima International Research Industrial City (Innovation Coast) Framework under the “Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform” that was adopted by the Japanese Cabinet in 2014.

The partners of the Fukushima Gas Power Company passed resolutions to proceed with the project in October 2016.

Fukushima gas-fired power project make-up

The Fukushima natural gas power plant consists of two combined-cycle generating units of 590MW capacity each.

Each unit is equipped with an M701F gas turbine, a steam turbine, and an exhaust heat recovery steam generator along with other auxiliary equipment. The gas and steam turbines are supplied by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) while the generators are provided by Mitsubishi Electric.

The M701F gas turbine is an advanced J-series combustion turbine from MHPS that comes with a 17-stage compressor with variable inlet guide vanes, a premixing low NOx air-cooled combustor, and the turbine speed is 3,000rpm.

The gas turbine is designed to operate at 50Hz frequency and offers a rated power output of 385MW in simple-cycle operation. The turbine’s efficiency in combined-cycle configuration is estimated to be more than 62%.

Gas supply

The feed gas for the power plant is sourced from the adjacent Soma LNG import terminal that commenced operations in March 2018.

The power project involved the construction of a new aboveground LNG storage tank with 230 thousand kilolitres capacity and LNG vaporisation equipment at the terminal facility which is operated by JAPEX.

Fukushima Gas Power Company outsourced the construction and operation of the LNG storage tank and the vaporisation unit to JAPEX in 2015. 

Fukushima gas-fired power plant finance

The Fukushima natural gas power plant is financed through a syndicated loan worth approximately 930m ($1.2bn) secured in March 2017.

The Development Bank of Japan, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ are the lead arrangers of the debt facility, while The 77 Bank and The Toho Bank are the other lenders of the syndicate group. 

Contractors involved 

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) was awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for two combined-cycle power generation trains at the   Fukushima gas power station in November 2015.

MHPS supplied the turbines for the plant while Mitsubishi Electric was the supplier of generators. The scope of the EPC contract also involved long term maintenance and service agreement (LTSA) as well as the operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts for the facility.

Baker & McKenzie was engaged by the Fukushima Gas Power Company to provide advisory services on financing and development of the power project in April 2017.