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    Japan Strikes Gas Offshore


Japan relies heavily on imported fossil fuels.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Japan Strikes Gas Offshore

Japan Petroleum Exploration (Japex) has struck gas at a well off the shore of Hokkaido Island in northeast Japan, the company said on August 2.

The borehole, some 50 km from land, was drilled in waters 1,070 metres deep to a depth of 2,530 metres below the seabed.

Production tests on a gas reservoir were carried out, Japex said, achieving stable gas flow. The company will analyse and evaluate the results, and consider further exploration plans.

Japex broke ground on the well in April, using the Ensco 8504 semi-submersible. The project was commissioned by Japan’s natural gas resources ministry, which wants to investigate the country’s oil and gas potential in the hope of reducing fossil fuel imports. Japanese oil and gas production is minuscule and confined to a handful of mostly onshore fields.

Besides general exploration work, Japan is also researching the development of methane hydrates.