Photo: Illustration; Courtesy of Inpex

Inpex gearing up for exploration drilling offshore Japan

Japan’s oil and gas player Inpex plans to carry out exploration drilling operations offshore Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectures in Japan to explore the possibility of locating oil and natural gas resources.

This will be done through Inpex San’in Offshore Development, a subsidiary tasked with conducting exploration and development operations.

The project is located approximately 150 kilometres offshore north of Yamaguchi Prefecture and approximately 130 kilometres offshore northwest of Shimane Prefecture in a water depth of about 240 meters. Activities are scheduled to be conducted between March and July 2022.

Map of location; Source: Inpex

Since the early 2010s, Inpex has conducted geophysical exploration and evaluation activities in areas offshore Shimane and Fukuoka prefectures where the establishment of oil and gas fields is expected. Based on the results of these activities, Inpex conducted exploratory offshore drilling operations in 2016 as part of the “Heisei 26~28 Domestic Offshore Drilling Programme” commissioned by the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

According to Inpex, the results of these drilling operations as well as subsequent geophysical exploration and evaluation activities have raised expectations for the location of oil and natural gas resources offshore Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectures, which has led to the planned implementation of the current project.

Inpex noted that, if the project leads to the commercial production of oil and natural gas, it is expected to contribute to the improvement of Japan’s energy self-sufficiency rate.

The project was selected as eligible to receive equity financing from the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) in December 2021.