Japanese trading houses Mitsui & Co., Itochu Corp. and electricity firm Jera Co. agreed Tuesday with Oman to purchase about 2.35 million tons of liquefied natural gas a year from the Middle East country, the Japanese industry ministry said.

Against the backdrop of energy supply disruptions due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, oil and gas explorer Inpex Corp. also announced the same day it has signed a 20-year agreement with Venture Global LNG to purchase 1 million tons per annum of LNG from the United States, one of the world's leading LNG exporters.

Japanese industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, currently on a trip to the Middle East, and Oman ministers met in the country Tuesday and attended a signing ceremony between the Japanese firms and the Oman side.

"It is extremely significant in terms of energy security, as we will be able to a secure, stable supply of LNG both in quantity and quality on a long-term basis," Nishimura said at a press conference.

Mitsui, Itochu and Jera, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co., will procure LNG from 2025 for about 10 years, according to the ministry.

Japan imports about 1.9 million tons of LNG, or about 2.6 percent of total LNG imports, from Oman.

Inpex, meanwhile, said it will purchase LNG to be produced at Venture Global LNG's plant in Louisiana, construction of which is expected to begin in 2023.

Russia's war in Ukraine, which started in late February, intensified competition worldwide to secure LNG as European countries try to diversify their natural gas resources and lower reliance on Russian gas.

Amid energy security concerns, the government of Japan, which relies on LNG for about 40 percent of electricity generation, has been engaging in diplomatic efforts to secure LNG sources from multiple countries as well.

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