September 20, 2008

Three Japanese Trading Houses Mull Participation in Venezuelan Gas Project

Text of report in English by Japan's largest news agency Kyodo

Tokyo, Sept. 20 Kyodo - Mitsubishi Corp. and two other Japanese trading houses are considering participating in a Venezuelan liquefied natural gas project led by a Venezuelan state-run petroleum company, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co. and Itochu Corp. are expected to take a combined stake of up to 20 per cent in the project, which is worth over 1 trillion yen, the sources said.

The three companies will seek to obtain sales rights to provide LNG to Japanese electric power companies, they said.

In the project, to become operational in around 2014, the Japanese firms will construct such facilities as pipelines, liquefying facilities and port facilities for exports, according to the sources.

Major oil companies from the United States and Europe are also expected to join the project.

The move by the Japanese companies came after Indonesia, the top exporter of LNG to Japan, unveiled a plan to cut its exports to Japan to meet growing domestic demand.

Japanese companies have been seeking to diversify regions for the supply of LNG to secure stable supplies for Japan amid intensifying competition in the world for natural resources, analysts said.

Originally published by Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0411 20 Sep 08.

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