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Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corp. and Teikoku Oil Co. have agreed to form a joint venture to retail natural gas in Japan, the two firms announced Monday.

The deal, which will make Nippon Mitsubishi the first oil distributor to enter the natural gas retail market following its November 1999 deregulation, is part of a broad tieup agreement the two firms announced in February. As part of the deal, Nippon Mitsubishi raised its stake in Teikoku Oil, a major oil and natural gas producer, from 3.9 percent to 16.47 percent.

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