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Japan’s Mitsui has bought a 92% stake in a shale gas field in Texas, from which it eyes production of over 200 million cubic feet daily, Reuters has reported, citing the company.
The size of the deal was not disclosed but the Japanese company said the acquisition was a “pragmatic solution” for the transition away from fossil fuels.
Japan is one of the most heavily import-dependent nations in the world when it comes to energy, and natural gas is one of its biggest imports.
Last year, the country regained the top spot of LNG importers globally, overtaking China after it imported 71.99 million cubic meters of the superchilled fuel, while China imported 63.44 million tons.
According to Mitsui, one of Japan’s biggest natural gas traders, natural gas and LNG will have a major role to play in the energy transition and the company was set to "continue to contribute to stable energy supply ... by further promoting our global natural gas and LNG businesses".
Last year, with fellow trader Itochu and JERA, Japan’s biggest power utility, Mitsui sealed a long-term LNG deal with Oman as part of that natural gas strategy.
The Japanese company was also allowed by the Japanese government to retain its stake in the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia despite G7 sanctions on Moscow. The stake will ensure continued deliveries of LNG over the long term.
Energy Intelligence reported earlier this year that Japanese commodity traders were on the lookout for longer-term LNG supply deals amid the heightened uncertainty on energy markets sparked by the war in Ukraine.
Mitsui’s acquisition deal in Texas may well be one version of securing long-term gas supply. The company said the field has a connection to LNG export plants on the Gulf Coast as well as ammonia production facilities.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com