Japan’s Inpex Corp. plans major oil and gas investments

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May 14, 2012

(Wall Street Journal; May 13) - Inpex Corp. plans to double its investment in energy exploration to $3.75 billion over the next five years to meet Japan's rising demand for fossil fuel in the aftermath of last year's Fukushima nuclear accident. "Our mission is to own stakes in energy projects, hopefully as an operator," Inpex President Toshiaki Kitamura said May 12.

The decision comes as Japanese companies try to secure greater supplies of LNG amid government plans to reduce Japan's reliance on nuclear power. Tokyo-based Inpex this year decided to join with France's Total to invest $34 billion in the Ichthys LNG project in Western Australia to develop one of the world's biggest offshore fields. Gas from the field will produce an average 1.1 billion cubic feet per day for seven Japanese utilities and Taiwan's CPC Corp. starting in 2016.

Inpex also plans to participate in the Abadi floating LNG project in Indonesia with Royal Dutch Shell. Inpex also is looking at its Canadian shale gas assets as a potential source of LNG for Japan, Kitamura said. An Inpex-led consortium in November purchased a 40 percent working interest from Nexen Inc. in its shale assets in the Horn River, Cordova and Liard basins in northeast British Columbia.

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