Japan has protested to Panama about planned limits on the size of ships in the Panama Canal, saying they could prevent some U.S. natural gas from reaching customers in Asia. The issue has cast a pall over hopes for expanded trade in natural gas after the widening of the canal, scheduled for completion in early 2016. The U.S., enjoying a newfound abundance of natural gas thanks to technological advances, has opened the door to exports, and Japanese companies have eagerly signed up for U.S. supplies to make up for idled nuclear power after the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co. ‘s Fukushima Daiichi complex. The widening of the canal will open the way for the first time to liquefied-natural-gas carriers. Currently the LNG carriers must take a more circuitous route from eastern North America to Asia. But Panama has set a width limit of 49 meters for […]