Japan's Tepco, Mitsubishi To Buy 10% Stake In Chevron Natural Gas Field

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on May 16 2012 1:03 PM

The Japanese government and domestic companies will buy a 10 percent stake in Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX)'s Wheatstone natural gas field in Australia for 350 billion yen ($4.37 billion), Nikkei newspaper reported Wednesday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tokyo: 9501) had previously planned to invest alone in the project, but backed out of the deal following financial difficulties arising from its Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, is in talks with Mitsubishi Corp. (Tokyo: 8058), shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K. and government-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. for the joint stake. Public and private banks will provide around $3.3 billion in financing, according to Nikkei.

With Japan's 50 nuclear reactors shut down because of safety concerns, the country has been relying more on natural gas. It used 4.56 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in April, up 33 percent from the prior year, according to Reuters. Wheatstone is expected to produce 8.9 million tons of gas annually, starting in late 2016.

Shares of Tepco were down 5.03 percent to 170 yen at Wednesday's market close. Chevron was up 0.50 percent to $100.50 in mid-Wednesday trading.

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