If you're an oil and gas developer, you may be seeing a lot more attention from Japan this coming year.
At least, in some parts of the world.
Platts reports that late last week, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) asked for more money for upstream petroleum acquisitions. Submitting a plan to the national Ministry of Finance that calls for an asset-purchase budget that's 25% larger than last year.
METI is reportedly requesting 59 billion yen--approximately $570 million--for petro-acquisitions in the coming fiscal year (beginning April 2015). Up from a budget of 47.2 billion yen for the current year.
Even more interesting is where METI plans to spend the money. With the Ministry saying it intends to look at buying assets in Africa and Latin America.
Some of that focus has been attributed to a desire to move away from Middle Eastern oil supplies. Which currently provide about 85% of Japan's overall oil usage.
Japanese officials are also reportedly enthused about prospects in the soon-opening Mexican oil and gas sector. With this seen as a place where high-impact assets can be picked up.
Any acquisitions funded by the Ministry will be carried out through Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC).
If the requested monies are indeed approved, it could be very good news for project developers seeking partners. Especially in places like East Africa, which has lately become a focus for many Asian investors. Evidenced by deals like Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek paying $1.3 billion for offshore natural gas assets in Tanzania.
Japan's budget won't be that rich. But METI's beefed-up war chest will certainly increase competition for good assets in this region. And quite possibly beyond.
Here's to asking for more,