Possible Japan Budget Hike to Tap Iran Oil Opportunities

An official with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has requested an 11% hike in its budget for acquiring exploration and upstream development-stage assets in fiscal 2018-19 as the country is looking at oil opportunities in Iran, a ministry official said.

The official said that METI has asked for a $552.8 million budget for exploration and upstream oil and natural gas assets in fiscal 2018-19, up 10.5% from the budget in the current year, Platts reported.

The requested increase in the budget comes at a time when Japanese companies are looking at upstream tender opportunities in Iran, as well as considering explorations and surveys in Russia, as well as studying US shale assets, according to the report.

On August 18, CEO of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ali Kardor said Japan’s biggest oil and gas explorer Inpex Corp might participate in a tender to develop the Azadegan oil field in southwestern Iran and form a consortium with other foreign oil firms to that end.

“Inpex replied to our invitation letter for international bid, then told us they liked to be our partner in developing Azadegan,” he said.

“We had meetings with executives from Inpex many times. They asked us how they could find a foreign operator, so we advised them to negotiate with major European companies with high technology,” Kardor said.

In July, NIOC signed an MoU with Japan’s engineering group Toyo to revamp facilities and upgrade recovery at the Salman gas field in the Persian Gulf.

Iran continues to be Japan’s third-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Trade balance has historically been in Iran’s favor, where Japan’s foreign policy toward Tehran has been directed toward its thirst for stable and reliable energy supplies.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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