The Japanese government plans to step up Japanese development of crude oil and natural gas in Iraq, the Arctic and other regions it has been slow to exploit, under a new strategy for securing natural resources, Japan's leading business daily reported.
The strategy, to be drawn up this month, will span about five years and list Iraq, the Arctic region, Eastern Siberia and East Africa as the nation's new focus for resource development, the Nikkei Shimbun said. Japan has made little progress on obtaining resource rights in these regions because of political unrest and geographical distance, and by strengthening relations through diplomacy, the government aims to help Japanese firms acquire these rights.
The government also aims to spur the development of new resources, the newspaper said, adding that the major focus will be on shale gas and oil, whose production is increasing sharply in North America. The government will bolster financial aid through the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. and support a shale gas project in which Inpex Corp. and JGC Corp. are engaged in Canada.
The new strategy comes as prices skyrocket for fuels for conventional power plants, which are being used as alternatives to suspended nuclear reactors. Prices of liquefied natural gas bought under long-term contracts have more than doubled since mid-2009. Through diversifying supply sources and engaging in joint procurement with South Korea, the government aims to bring prices down.