The government-run Japan National Oil Corp. said Friday it and five companies will start operating this month a gas-to-liquids pilot plant in Tomakomai, Hokkaido.

JNOC, Cosmo Oil Co., Nippon Steel Corp., Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Chiyoda Corp. and Inpex Corp. hope the project will prove the feasibility of GTL technology jointly developed by the six-party consortium, JNOC said.

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