Abe to offer Rousseff offshore oil know-how

Kyodo, JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are expected to discuss how Japanese technology can help the Latin American country to build a massive offshore logistics hub for deep-sea oil field development, according to a draft of a statement to be released after the two meet for talks.

When the two leaders meet in Brazil on Aug. 1, Abe will propose that the country use Japanese large floating structure technology to build the hub, the draft indicates. According to Japanese government sources, the offshore hub under consideration would be about 300 meters long and 100 meters wide, and cost more than ¥50 billion to build.

For Brazil, efficiently transporting people, equipment and supplies from land to oil fields far offshore is currently a major challenge. Constructing a huge logistics hub is thus expected to contribute to the development of deep-water oil deposits, the safety of production, and the reduction of transportation costs.

Brazil’s crude oil output ranked 13th in the world in 2011, a large part of which came from offshore fields.

The draft statement also said the Japan International Cooperation Agency will begin a training project for workers in the Brazilian shipbuilding industry later this year. Japanese experts are likely to be sent to shipbuilding yards in Brazil to pass on their know-how.

Japanese corporate leaders are set to accompany Abe on his 11-day tour of five Latin American nations starting Friday. Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of Keidanren, the nation’s top business lobby, will travel with Abe for the whole tour and attend summit meetings in Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

In Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, Sakakibara, also chairman of textile maker Toray Industries Inc., will hold meetings with local business leaders in a bid to strengthen cooperation. He will be the first Keidanren chief to visit the region in 17 years.

Sakakibara will be accompanied by Hiromichi Iwasa and Masami Iijima, chairman and vice chairman of Keidanren’s board of councilors. Iwasa is also chairman of real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan Co. and Iijima is president of trading house Mitsui & Co.

On the trip to Mexico, the first leg of Abe’s tour, where Japanese automakers have recently opened new plants, Toshiyuki Shiga, vice chairman of Nissan Motor Co., will join the delegation, together with senior officials of auto parts suppliers. Nissan operates three plants in Mexico.

Accompanying Abe to Brazil will be Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Chairman Akio Mimura, who also serves as consultant at Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., and Keidanren Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, also chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.

They are expected to deepen private sector discussions about a proposed economic partnership agreement between Japan and Brazil.