A senior company official at Osaka Gas Co. said the company is considering investing in one or more shale gas projects in the U.S. as it expects Henry Hub natural gas prices will go up, Reuters reported. After Japan's nuclear reactors were forced to shut down following the Fukushima disaster in 2011, some of the country's energy companies have turned to importing more liquefied natural gas supplies from the U.S.
In 2013, Japan imported a record high of 87.49 million metric tons, according to Businessweek.
Osaka Gas, the second biggest gas provider in Japan, has agreed to buy 2.2 million tons of LNG each year from Freeport LNG for the next 20 years. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy approved Freeport to export more than 10 million tons of LNG per year. Before the Freeport project begins operations, Osaka Gas plans to acquire a stake in a shale gas development in the U.S. by the end of March 2017, according to Businessweek.
Motoyuki Hirabayashi, general manager for Osaka Gas, said the company expects to invest between $196 million and $293.6 million for stake in the development. Koichiro Age, senior general manager of Osaka Gas' Freeport Project Development Unit, said the company may receive project financing from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) or other major Japanese banks, Reuters reported.