Hakuryu-11 jack-up rig; Source: JDC

Japanese firm taking over country’s only offshore drilling contractor to fortify its oil & gas business

Japan’s oil and gas player JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation is in the process of acquiring the country’s rig owner, Japan Drilling Co. (JDC), in a bid to strengthen its position in the oil and gas industry.

Hakuryu-11 jack-up rig; Source: JDC

JX Nippon revealed last week that it had reached an agreement with the funds related to Aspirant Group to obtain the entire issued shares of JDC. The firm intends to move forward with procedures to obtain the required regulatory approvals with the aim of completing the acquisition around the end of April 2023.

Once the acquisition is complete, JDC will become a consolidated subsidiary of JX, enabling the two companies to work together towards increasing the corporate value of JDC while pursuing its stable and continuous growth.

According to JX, JDC is the only company in Japan, which is engaged in the offshore drilling business and has built up “an excellent reputation internationally” for its technical capabilities as well as its professional personnel, having “highly specialized” skills and knowledge.

“Through our collaboration to date, we have placed a great deal of trust in the human resources and technological capabilities of JDC, particularly in its drilling operations and safety management capabilities. We believe that, once JDC, which is also a valuable asset to Japan, joins with our group, our competitiveness in the oil and natural gas development business will further strengthen,” highlighted JX Nippon in its statement.

In addition to offshore drilling services, JDC provides engineering services and R&D in relation to offshore drilling as well as oil and gas exploration and development. Currently, the drilling contractor operates five rigs in total, including one semi-submersible (Hakuryu-5), one drillship (Chikyu) and three jack-ups: Hakuryu-10, Hakuryu-11, and Hakuryu-14.

Regarding achieving carbon neutrality goals, JX Nippon underlines that it has accumulated the knowledge and technologies in respect of the CCS/CCUS through its relevant projects, especially the Petra Nova CCUS project, as the CCS/CCUS is regarded as “an effective measure for achieving the carbon neutrality.”

The Japanese oil and gas player underscores that drilling wells to inject and store CO₂ underground is “an important technological component” of the CCS/CCUS value chain, thus, JDC’s participation will “further reinforce the CCS/CCUS value chain offered by the ENEOS Group and enhance its set-up and capabilities to help Japan achieve its carbon neutrality plan.”

The firm describes the Petra Nova CCUS project in the U.S. as one of the largest CCUS projects in the world, which aims to increase crude oil production by capturing 1.6 million tons of CO₂ annually from flue gas of thermal power plants and injecting it into oil fields near Houston.

When it comes to JDC’s latest deals, it is worth noting that the Japanese rig owner recently won a new deal for one of its jack-up rigs for operations offshore Thailand.