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Japan's INPEX inks agreement for Emirati oil

The company signed a deal to take a minority stake in an offshore basin with a target rate of production of 450,000 bpd.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Japan's INPEX inks agreement for Emirati oil
Japan's INPEX reaches an agreement in offshore United Arab Emirates that last for 40 years. Photo courtesy of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- For the next 40 years, Japanese energy company INPEX said it would play a role in the development of oil reserves off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

INPEX said Monday it was awarded a 10 percent stake in the Lower Zakum play off the coast of Abu Dhabi in an agreement that pushes cooperation with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. into 2058.

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Discovered in the 1960s, the field has a target rate of production of about 450,000 barrels of oil per day.

"This agreement extends that long-standing partnership between one of the world's leading oil and gas resource holding countries and the third largest global economy, and represents an attractive and strategic opportunity for both parties that will deliver mutual benefits," ADNOC Group CEO Ahmed al-Jaber said in a statement.

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Japan's economy is on a growth trajectory, though growth in third quarter gross domestic product of 2.4 percent was slower than the second quarter rate of 2.9 percent. Growth is expected to continue, though headwinds are building for one of the world's major economies.

Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said a government-led stimulus effort is supporting growth, but it remains to be seen for how long.

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In late January, the Bank of Japan voted 8-1 to apply a negative interest rate to its policy rate and OPEC economists said the rate may be so low it can't stimulate the economy any further. In its global outlook, the International Monetary Fund said Japan's economy could experience negative growth by next year.

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An island nation, Japan relies heavily on exports to meet energy demand. Fossil fuel use surged after a 2011 nuclear disaster forced the shutdown of all of its reactors.

"This agreement ensures INPEX continues to enjoy access to significant, competitive and reliable resources that we understand very well," President and CEO Toshiaki Kitamura said.

For natural gas, Russia is a main supplier in the form of liquefied natural gas, though demand there may be limited as well. With its weaker economy, Japan's consumption of electricity has declined for five straight years.

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