Japanese and French firms in $34 bln deal

Japanese and French firms in $34 bln deal

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Japanese and French firms in $34 bln deal

Japan’s Inpex and France’s Total are set to seek gas in Ichtnys off Western Australia.

Japanese energy firm Inpex and French giant Total on Jan. 13 announced a huge $34 billion gas project in Australia, as Tokyo looks for alternatives to nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Japan has virtually no hydrocarbon resources of its own and is the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to drive its energy-hungry economy, the third largest on the planet.

The project will see gas from the Ichthys field, in the Browse Basin off Western Australia, piped to Darwin, where it will be converted into liquid at a vast processing plant producing 8.4 million tons of LNG a year.
The figure represents more than 10 percent of Japan’s current gas consumption, Inpex said, and most of it will be shipped to Japan, with about 20 percent being bought by a Taiwanese firm.

Announcing the final decision in Darwin, Inpex chairman Naoki Kuroda said: “Ichthys will provide a long-term stable supply of cleaner energy to Japan, and help Japan diversify its energy sources.”

Approximately one third of the country’s electricity used to come from nuclear power. But the vast bulk of its 54 reactors have been shut down since the Fukushima nuclear crisis was triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year.