Inpex plans drilling off Japan in late June

In the first large-scale gas exploration off Japan in 30 years, Inpex Holdings Inc.'s Tokyo unit, Teikoku Oil Co., in late June will begin drilling for natural gas some 20 km off the northern Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan's Kanto region.

Jun 4th, 2007

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, June 4 -- In the first large-scale gas exploration off Japan in 30 years, Inpex Holdings Inc.'s Tokyo unit, Teikoku Oil Co., in late June will begin drilling for natural gas some 20 km off the northern Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan's Kanto region.

Teikoku will pay 80% of the estimated ¥3-4 billion in exploration costs, while Japan Energy Corp. will pay 20%.

In April 2006 Teikoku and Inpex Corp. reported a decision to merge their operations under the name of Inpex Holdings Inc. (OGJ Online, Nov. 7, 2005). Originally planned for June 2008, the full merger of the companies is scheduled for completion in October 2008.

The offshore Japan report follows a May 10 announcement by Inpex that the Indonesian government had granted approval for Inpex Offshore Northeast Java Ltd. to acquire a 22% participating interest in the East Sepanjang Block from Total SA.

Inpex said the East Sepanjang Block covers an area of 5,083 sq km in 300-1,400 m of water in the eastern Java Sea off Indonesia.

The block originally was awarded to Indonesia's EASCO in December 2004 through a production-sharing contract. EASCO (operator) will hold a 51% participating interest in the block, while Total will retain 27%.

And in March Venezuela's state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) awarded Teikoku a 70% stake in Copa Macoya gas field in the Jose Felix Ribas municipality in Guarico state. The Teikoku-PDVSA joint venture is called Petroguarico. PDVSA said the field has a potential of 120 MMcfd. Under terms of a 20-year exploration and production license, Teikoku will be required to invest 1% of profits from future gas production into social projects, PDVSA said.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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