Nippon Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest oil wholesaler, and Japan Energy Corp., the sixth largest, jointly said Tuesday they have agreed to enter into a broad-based tieup that includes joint operation of neighboring refineries and development of fuel cell technology.

The 10-year accord, which includes a clause for automatic renewal, also involves joint use of facilities for transporting petroleum products as well as consolidation of their oil storage facilities, they said.

“We will seek to strengthen our international competitiveness by implementing a range of measures for enhancing our cooperation,” the two said in a joint news release.

Under the deal, the two will jointly operate their respective refineries in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, where they are situated side-by-side in the Mizushima area.

They will consider using each other’s crude oil tanks and tankers while seeking to integrate and use each other’s refining and shipment facilities, they said.

On fuel cells, two companies will press ahead with joint development to cut back on research and development costs, they said.

Joint oil field exploration and development will also be considered, along with joint acquisition of assets, with engineers from both sides participating in oil field development.

The tieup could trigger a reconfiguration of ties among other oil refiners and wholesalers.

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