JAPEX to test for shale oil in Akita

Kyodo

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. said Thursday it will launch studies on drilling for shale oil on a commercial basis, using a process known as “fracking,” at an oil-gas field in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture.

The developer of oil and gas reserves known as JAPEX successfully extracted the country’s first shale oil last October at its Ayukawa oil-gas field in Yurihonjo.

Earlier Thursday, industry sources said JAPEX plans to drill for shale oil on a test basis in Oga, also in Akita Prefecture, in fiscal 2014 in its second demonstration experiment.

JAPEX will conduct the drilling in Oga using U.S.-developed techniques, according to the sources.

JAPEX, which is 34 percent owned by the government, owns mining rights in Indonesia, Canada and Iraq, while also operating in Hokkaido, Akita, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures.

In the Ayukawa field, JAPEX produced only about 31 kiloliters of crude oil by injecting hydrochloric acid fluid into the rock layers to dissolve lime rocks and pumped it up with high-pressure gas.