TOKYO, April 4 Osaka Gas Co, Japan's
second biggest supplier of city gas, has identified offshore
Mozambique as one of several regions in which it would be
interested in making an upstream investment, a senior company
official said on Thursday.
The Osaka-based company is also looking at cooperating with
Tokyo Gas in buying liquefied natural gas (LNG) from
one of the many projects planned from resources offshore the
east African nation, the official said.
"We are looking not only at Mozambique but also others as
well," Takayuki Tasaka, the company's associate director and
general manager of corporate strategy department, told Reuters.
Recent discoveries have boosted Mozambique's gas reserves to
around 150 trillion cubic feet (tcf), enough to supply Japan for
35 years. The east African country is expected to eventually
compete with Australia and Qatar as a major LNG source for Asia.
LNG buyers often take stakes in upstream gas projects in
deals that also guarantee a contractual offtake of the fuel.
Japan's Mitsui & Co, which has a 20 percent stake
in the Anadarko Petroleum-led Area 1 prospect, has said
it aimed to sell at least 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of
Mozambique LNG to Japan, the world's biggest importer.
Anadarko and India's Videocon Industries last
month launched a sale of a 20 percent stake in Area 1 that may
fetch $4.5 billion. Anadarko holds a 36.5 percent of the block,
while India's Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and a unit of
Videocon Industries hold 10 percent each.
Italian oil firm Eni, which operates the
neighbouring Area 4 prospect in Mozambique, and Anadarko have
said they plan to unite exploitation of the two offshore fields
to boost their value.
The two planned 5 mtpa LNG production plants, known as
"trains", are expected to start operations as early as 2018,
Anadarko has said.
Osaka Gas now imports about 8 million metric tonnes of LNG a
year. By 2020, its annual purchases of LNG will have grown to
around 10 million tonnes a year, of which about 20 percent will
be linked to gas benchmarks instead of oil, Tasaka said.
Japan's total LNG imports rose to a record 87.3 million
tonnes last year as utilities ramped up oil and gas-fired power
generation to make up for the near halt in the use of nuclear
power after the 2011 radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo.