Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and state-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp are said to be the main contenders considered for a stake in the Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft’s $157bn (£117bn, €140bn) Arctic project.
Both parties are now in line for a stake in the Vostok oil development, previously discussed with other Japanese, Indian and Chinese companies, as well as with BP, the UK major that owns nearly 20 per cent stake in Rosneft.
Participating in the project is said to help Japan diversify its energy supply away from the Middle East, from where it currently imports almost 90 per cent of its oil.
Neither the size nor the price of the stake has been disclosed.
In October 2019 it was stated that a stake of 15-20 per cent was under discussion.
Vostok Oil is one of 15 potential oil, gas, refining and petrochemicals projects Rosneft had offered to Japanese partners in September. It includes fields in East Siberia and Yermak Neftegaz, its joint gas project with BP.
The project is capable of producing up to 2m barrels per day of crude by 2030, according to Rosneft.
This oil is expected to be transported via the Arctic Ocean’s Northern Sea route but requires massive investment of up to Rbs10 trillion ($157bn) to develop fields, build 5,500km of pipelines, sea terminals, airports and power lines.
Japan is already involved in Russian oil and gas projects in the country’s east and the Arctic with Sodeco as part of the Sakhalin-1 production-sharing agreement with Rosneft.