Tokyo Gas sells interests in four Australian LNG projects to make room for further energy transition investments

Japan’s gas utility provider Tokyo Gas has sold minority interests in four liquified natural gas (LNG) projects off the coast of Australia, with law firm Norton Rose Fulbright acting as legal counsel.

Gorgon project; Source: Chevron

Thanks to this asset sale, EIG-managed MidOcean Energy acquired interests in the Gorgon, Queensland Curtis, and Pluto LNG projects. The latter is connected to the Scarborough gas field, which is being developed by Australia’s Woodside. With the first three Pluto Train 2 modules arriving in Karratha in February, followed by a refrigeration compressor module in April, the first LNG cargo is still on track for 2026.

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In addition, Tokyo Gas divested its stake in the Ichthys LNG project, which Japan’s Inpex Corporation bought following the announcement of the acquisition through Australian subsidiaries.

According to the law firm, the sale of the minority interests in the four LNG projects will enable Tokyo Gas to continue pursuing investments in the energy transition arena, while helping to achieve other objectives from its medium-term management plan. 

Martin Irwin, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Australia, remarked: “Tokyo Gas’s sale of its minority interests in four LNG projects represents one of the most significant recent transactions in the Australian energy sector and will help to support its ongoing investment in the energy transition. We acted for Tokyo Gas throughout and were delighted to assist with the structuring and documenting of such a complex transaction.”

Norton Rose Fulbright states that it has acted as a legal advisor to the Japanese player since 2021 on various aspects of the sale of interests in LNG projects. A multidisciplinary team comprising partners and senior associates, as well as teams across its Tokyo, London, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Brisbane offices, provided end-to-end support for the divestment process.

“We were delighted to support our client with this strategically important transaction, and to use the multijurisdictional expertise and capabilities of our cross-border team to assist Tokyo Gas over an extended period to achieve a successful outcome. It was also a pleasure to support Tokyo Gas in its decarbonization plans,” highlighted George Gibson, partner and head of the law firm’s Tokyo office.

MidOcean Energy has also enriched its portfolio with other LNG projects. As stated by EIG’s CEO, the company sees LNG as a key enabler of the energy transition, which is why it also purchased an interest in South America’s Peru LNG.

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