JAPEX successfully extracts shale oil in Japan; first for the country
15 October 2012
Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. has successfully extracted shale oil from the Onnagawa shale formation (at a depth of 1800m) of the Ayukawa Oil and Gas in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture. This marks Japan’s first successful extraction of shale oil in the country.
The JAPEX experiment began on 1 October with the injection of acid treatment fluid into the formation. On 8 October, JAPEX recovered 100.6 kl total fluid, of which 31.1 kl was crude oil.
In an editorial, the Nikkei called the results “a boon for Japan, a resource-poor nation that imports almost all of its crude oil and natural gas supplies.”
Although the Ayukawa field itself has small resources, the editorial said,
...the discovery and extraction of shale oil at the field is significant because it offers Japan a chance to acquire its own technology to drill for shale oil. In the US, the “shale revolution” has led to the development and production of shale gas, or natural gas trapped in shale rock deposits, and shale oil. The US has achieved this before other countries, pushing domestic energy prices down.
In the coming years, the development of shale oil and gas will likely shift into high gear in China and many other parts of the world. Japanese firms, for their part, have already started to participate in overseas development projects.
...If the nation diversifies its resources base and reduces its heavy reliance on imports of crude oil, natural gas, rare earth elements and other materials, it will be able to strengthen its position in price negotiations with foreign producer nations. The development of domestic resources is strategically significant, which is why the government needs to help Japanese companies develop related technologies.
JAPEX also announced the successful production of approximately 290,000 cubic meters of natural gas and approximately 33 kl of condensate per day as a result of a production test in the Katakai Gas Field located in Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture. The Company began drilling an extension well of Katakai SK-29D as a main well and its branch well of Katakai SK-29D-1 in April 2012.
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