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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Test drilling for oil, natural gas in Sea of Japan planned


The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says it will carry out test drilling in the Sea of Japan off Niigata Prefecture next spring to prospect for oil and natural gas.

The nearly ¥10 billion project hopes to find the nation's largest oil field, which could be as large as 135 sq. km, METI officials said Monday.

"This is a project full of dreams," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said. "We hope this will lead to the discovery of gas and other fields."

JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. will carry out the drilling, and commercial production will be considered if a large enough deposit is confirmed at the site about 30 km southwest of Sado Island, the officials said.

The government carried out experimental drilling off Niigata in 2003 and 2004 but failed to find enough reserves to be exploited commercially.

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