(IBTimes) - The Japanese government together with a consortium of Japanese companies are poised to buy a 10 per cent stake in Chevron Corp.'s Wheatstone liquefied natural gas ( LNG ) project in Australia for $4.35 billion.
The consortium includes Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the Japanese government, Nippon Yusen K.K., and Mitsubishi Corp., Bloomberg News reported. The AFP reported state-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) is likewise part of the group.
Tepco in 2009 had expressed investing by as much as 15 per cent and 11.25 per cent in the gas field development and business rights, respectively, of the $29-billion worth Wheatstone project, which has been forecast to produce as much as 8.9 million tonnes of natural gas annually, beginning 2016. But cleaning up procedures and costs incurred during the meltdown of its Fukushima nuclear brought by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami forced Tepco to withdraw its plan as company finances escalated.
The group wants to have a 10 per cent stake in the gas fields as well as an 8 per cent interest in the liquefied natural gas facilities, the Nikkei business newspaper reported.
Tepco will invest $70 million and Mitsubishi Corp. at $330 million for the project, while Nippon Yusen K.K. and JOGMEC at $90 million and $350 million, respectively. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), meanwhile, will purchase preferred shares without voting rights in the venture for $280 million, Nikkei said.
Some $2 billion in loans will still be provided by JBIC. Unidentified private Japanese banks have also pledged to lend $1.3 billion, the newspaper added.
Tepco has secured rights to buy 3.1 million tonnes of LNG per year from the project.
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