While the US eyes western Russia as a new source of non-OPEC oil, Japan is looking to the Russian Far East.
As Japan is going to diversify its energy import the Sakhalin Island can become a major supplier of oil and gas to Japan within a decade as it is only 25 miles above Japan's northern tip.
In 2003, Sakhalin Energy is to start work on a 560-mile pipeline down the island to feed gas from an offshore operation to what is to be the largest liquefied natural gas plant in the world. From an ice-free terminal a few miles east of here, tankers are to start supplying, in late 2006, a dozen gas terminals around Japan, the world's largest importer of gas by ship.
Foreign large companies such as Exxon Mobile develop a Sakhalin offshore section, with the goal of producing oil. In 2006, Exxon Mobil plans to start building a gas pipeline to Japan, potentially a 1,000-mile, $16 billion undertaking.