Mitsubishi Corp. (8058), Nippon Yusen K.K., Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) and Japan’s government, will jointly buy a $4.35 billion stake in Chevron Corp. (CVX:US)’s Wheatstone natural gas project in Australia, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
The group will take a 10 percent stake in the gas fields and an 8 percent interest in the liquefied natural gas facilities, the newspaper said today, without saying how it got the information. The agreement means Tokyo Electric, known as Tepco, will have a smaller stake in Wheatstone than the amount it agreed to buy in 2009.
The A$29 billion ($29 billion) Wheatstone project is among several Australian LNG projects aiming to tap rising Asian demand led by Japan as the country turned to thermal power generation in the absence of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. Tepco, the owner of the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, invited the other Japanese companies to join it as it deals with the costs of cleaning up Fukushima, the Nikkei said.
Tepco and Mitsubishi will spend $70 million and $330 million respectively to acquire 8 percent and 40 percent stakes in a venture that will obtain the interest in the Australian gas field, the Nikkei reported. Nippon Yusen and the government- owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. will invest $90 million and $350 million while the Japan Bank for International Cooperation will buy preferred shares without voting rights in the venture for $280 million, the newspaper said.
The JBIC will also provide about $2 billion in loans to the venture while private banks will lend $1.3 billion, the newspaper said.
Tepco spokesman Masateru Araki and Mitsubishi spokesman Shunsuke Nanami declined to comment on the Nikkei report.
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