Japan’s Marubeni Corp has agreed to invest in an Australian LNG import project, just 18 months after it quit a rival project.

The giant trading house has teamed up with Australia’s Venice Energy on its AUD260m ($175m) South Australia LNG import terminal.

Marubeni withdrew from a similar project at Port Kembla backed by Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy in October 2020.

Marubeni held a 30.1% stake in the project, while JERA, the world’s largest buyer of LNG, also sold its 19.9% stake in Australian Industrial Energy (AIE).

Venice Energy managing director Kym Winter-Dewhirst said the company remains on track to begin on-ground works in the second half of this calendar year.

“Through this agreement Marubeni will bring significant skills and expertise to the project and ensure a more secure pathway forward as the energy infrastructure is brought into operation,” he said.

“At the same time, we will work with Marubeni to develop a long-term partnership that will extend over the next decade as we open up southeast Australia to international gas supplies and ensure this piece of critical state infrastructure plays its part in securing some of our future energy needs”.

The terminal will include the development of two berths in the Outer Harbor channel at Port Adelaide, along with a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU).

The project is expected to take an estimated 12 months to complete and will operate over the next 10 years in support of Australia’s transition to a renewable energy landscape.

In July 2021, Venice Energy entered into a head of agreement with Peter Livanos-backed LNG shipowner GasLog to supply an FSRU for the import terminal.

The Venice Energy project is one of five LNG-import terminals under development to help fill an expected shortfall in gas supply in southeast Australia from 2024 as output declines from Australia’s Bass Strait fields.

Other projects include those by Australian power company Viva Energy and South Korean private equity firm EPIK, which is working with Hyundai LNG Shipping.

Dutch terminal operator Vopak is looking to build a facility in Port Phillip Bay in the state of Victoria and hopes to submit a proposal to the state government in the third quarter of this year.

However, one project has already bitten the dust, with AGL Energy pulling the plug on its FSRU-based LNG import project in the state of Victoria after local authorities rejected the plan due to environmental concerns.