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Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Seabed Drilling Survey for Oil and Natural Gas Offshore Shimane and Yamaguchi Prefectures Completed

On October 26, 2016, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) completed the seabed drilling survey project to ascertain the presence of oil and natural gas in the seabed offshore Shimane and Yamaguchi Prefectures, which started on June 5, 2016.

Through this seabed drilling, ANRE collected a large amount of data on strata and confirmed a thin layer of gas and an indication of gas lying in the target strata. In addition, it also found stronger-than-expected signs of gas in the deepest section of the surveyed strata, implying the existence of a layer of high-pressure gas.

1. Outline of the project

According to the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy and the Plan for the Development of Marine Energy and Mineral Resources, ANRE launched its own 3D seismic survey vessel Shigen and discovered promising geological structures based on the survey results. Concerning the structures, ANRE conducted this seabed drilling to ascertain the state of strata and the presence or absence of oil and natural gas.

Title of project:
FY2014-2016 Basic Survey and Basic Seabed Drilling to Ascertain the Existence of Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Offshore Shimane and Yamaguchi Prefectures
Target site:
Underground geological structures under the sea area about 130 km northwest from Hamada City, Shimane Prefecture, and about 140 km west-northwest of Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Drill depth:
About 210 meters under the sea; About 2,900 meters under the surface of the seabed Period of operation: From June 5 to October 26, 2016
Subcontractors:
INPEX Corporation (operator of the project)
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) (manager of the project)
Drilling rig:
M. G. Hulme Jr., owned by Transocean Ltd., the United States

Note: For the map, methodology and al schematic of the seabed drilling operation, see the Appendix(PDF:883KB) (in Japanese)PDFfile .

2. Summary of the results

Through this seabed drilling, ANRE collected samples of rock and a large amount of data on strata and considers them valuable in determining the oil and natural gas situation in that marine area. In addition, it confirmed a thin layer of gas at the shallow section of the seabed as well as an indication of gas at the section immediately deeper than the shallow section. Furthermore, it found a strong indication of gas, beyond its initial expectations, implying the existence of a layer of high-pressure gas at the deepest section of the strata.

3. Future actions

ANRE will analyze and assess the data on strata collected through the seabed drilling in detail, and will compile the survey results into a report by the end of FY2016 concerning the potential of oil and natural gas lying around the target area. ANRE hopes that the results of this government-led survey project will contribute to the exploration of mines by oil development companies in Japan.

ANRE appreciates the cooperation and understanding provided by the people in related areas towards the survey.

Based on the findings from the data from previous surveys, ANRE has already discovered a considerable number of geological structures that potentially contain oil or natural gas. From FY2017 onward, it will continue to conduct seabed drilling surveys in the sea areas around Japan.

Release date

October 28, 2016

Division in Charge

Petroleum and Natural Gas Division, Natural Resources and Fuel Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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