(EnergyAsia, April 9 2013, Tuesday) — Japan has stepped up its pursuit of overseas oil and gas assets with two of its largest utilities recently securing deals in the US and Australia.

Tokyo Gas Co said it has agreed to pay US$485 million for a 25 % stake in the oil and gas assets of the Barnett Shale gas operations in Texas from Quicksilver Resources Inc. Japan’s biggest gas company said TG Barnett Resources LP (TGBR), a wholly-owned unit of subsidiary Tokyo Gas America Ltd, would establish a joint venture with Quicksilver.

TGBR plans to market its annual share of 350,000 to 500,000 tons of gas production in the US. The Barnett basin produces about 275 million cubic feet equivalent per day of shale gas and natural gas liquids.

Tokyo Gas said it “will continue to work intensively for participation in the overseas business with a view to diversification and expansion of its upstream business as well as establishment of LNG value chain.”

Separately, Chubu Electric Power Company Inc said it has signed an agreement with the Australian subsidiaries of US major Chevron Corp and their partners for the annual import of one million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for up to 20 years.

Chevron owns a 64.14% stake in the Wheatstone project in Western Australia state. The remaining stakes are held by US-based Apache Energy (13%), Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (7%), Royal Dutch Shell (6.4%), and Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Company (1.46%), together with PE Wheatstone Pty Ltd (part owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company, 8%).

Located at Ashburton North, 12 km west of Onslow, Wheatstone comprises two LNG trains with a combined annual capacity of 8.9 million tons and a domestic gas plant.

Chevron also holds an 80.17% equity interest in the offshore Wheatstone and Iago fields that provide 80% of the feedgas to the Wheatstone. The partners in the fields are Australian subsidiaries of Shell (8%) and Kyushu Electric Power Company (1.83%) together with PE Wheatstone Pty Ltd (part owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company, 10%).

Joe Geagea, president of Chevron Gas and Midstream, said:

“Chubu, one of the world’s leading LNG customers, is now a partner and customer of the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project. We are pleased to expand the strong partnership between our two companies with these SPAs for Wheatstone LNG.”

Roy Krzywosinski, managing director of Chevron Australia, said:

“More than 80% of Chevron’s equity LNG from Wheatstone is covered under long-term off-take agreements with customers in Asia. The agreements demonstrate that Wheatstone is well-placed geographically to meet the Asia Pacific region’s growing demand for a safe, reliable and cleaner-burning source of energy.”