• Kyodo

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Chubu Electric Power Co., two gas companies and an incorporated administrative agency have agreed to join in Mitsubishi Corp.’s shale gas project in Canada.

The agreement announced Monday by the Nagoya-based electricity firm, Tokyo Gas Co., Osaka Gas Co., and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. marks the first participation by Japanese utility firms in a shale gas project.

Given the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, domestic and global demand for natural gas is expected to rise, and the companies are considering importing the gas to Japan by converting it to liquid natural gas.

Shale gas, an unconventional natural gas produced from shale, a layer of soft stones beneath the surface, can be produced at low cost due to recent advances in technology. It is attracting attention as a new energy source.

Under the deal, Chubu Electric, the two gas companies and JOGMEC each acquired a 7.5 percent stake of Cordova Gas Resources Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of trading firm Mitsubishi.

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