The world’s largest buyer of LNG has vowed to transform itself into a global trading powerhouse as it moves to defend its position as the biggest purchaser of the super-cooled fuel.

Hiroki Sato, known in the industry as “Mr. LNG” for his clout as chief buyer for Jera, said the big Japanese energy importer would focus on investments in trading, infrastructure and gas production overseas, as it prepares for LNG imports in the country to decline.

“The plan is to become a portfolio player like BP and Total,” Sato told the Financial Times Commodities Tokyo Summit. “We are ready to invest upstream.”