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Japanese Firm Closes In On Buying A U.S. Natural Gas Producer

Japanese Tokyo Gas is close to finalizing a deal for the acquisition of U.S. natural gas producer Rockcliff Energy, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources close to the negotiations.

The value of the deal, which would include the assumption of debt, is seen at some $4.6 billion, the Reuters sources said. The actual buyer would be a subsidiary of the Japanese firm based in Texas - TG Natural Resources.

Rockcliff Energy is active in the Haynesville shale play, with a daily output of some 1 billion cubic feet daily. It is currently owned by Quantum Energy Partners.

TG Natural Resources is also active in the Haynesville play, with a daily output of about 330 million cubic feet.

The move, according to the Reuters report, could be seen as the latest move by a Japanese energy company to secure fossil fuel supply in a friendly jurisdiction, even though at the same time Tokyo Gas recently sold its interests in four LNG projects in Australia to a U.S. private equity firm.

Like Europe, Japan is trying to diversify its sources of oil and gas in a bid to reduce dependence on Russia. Last year, Japanese energy companies signed a series of deals for LNG deliveries from the United States and Oman to advance these diversification plans.

Even so, oil and gas from Sakhalin remain critical for Japan, which is why the G7 member was granted an exemption from the price cap the group agreed on as a means of reducing Russia’s oil revenues.

In addition to fossil fuel supply diversification, Japan has made a U-turn on nuclear energy. After the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Japanese leaders have taken an anti-nuclear stance but with the energy crisis this has begun to change: at the end of last year, a panel of experts under the Japanese Ministry of Industry decided that Japan would allow the development of new nuclear reactors and allow available reactors to operate after the current limit of 60 years.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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